Policing Bureau

The Richmond Police Department has undergone rapid growth and evolution over the past several years. Concurrently, we have and will continue to adopt, tailor and perfect the best practices in the field in order to maintain a balanced fusion of effective policing methodologies that support and enhance our crime reduction and crime prevention goals.

The Policing Bureau was formed out of a 2011 Department-wide reorganization and realignment effort. Much of our frontline police service delivery to the public gets accomplished by the professional staff and the police officers assigned to the major specialty work groups that make up the Policing Bureau. They are: Patrol Division ♦ Investigations Division ♦ Youth Services Division.

Geographic Policing Model
Our three-district, geographic policing model emphasizes beat ownership, collaboration and partnerships. It is rooted in community policing philosophy and requires teamwork, cooperation, community engagement and analytic problem-solving in order to achieve the best results. Accurate and timely crime data and the Comp-Stat process are important tools to help our police managers account for the proportional use of resources in order to address crime and disorder problems intelligently. Technology also figures prominently in our delivery police services. Our Computer Aided Dispatch system, known as “CAD” allows for precise call tracking and transmission. It is coupled with a Records Management System and the integration of Crimeview® crime data tracking and mapping software.

We have dramatically extended the reach of patrol eyes on the street with a network of closed circuit television cameras deployed throughout the city—many are equipped with pan-tilt-zoom capability. They are actively monitored every day by specialists who can spot and report illegal activity over the primary police radio frequency.

About 6 square miles of Richmond’s most troubled geography is blanketed with Shotspotter® technology. The system is made up of a series of acoustic sensors that can detect gunfire noise, triangulate its source, and then pinpoint and display the location on a digital map in our Communications Center, all within about 10-12 seconds. We now become aware of gunfire incidents about 90 seconds ahead of the first 911 calls reporting them with nearly spot on accuracy—it is nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact origin of gunfire noise with the human ear. Shotspotter® has played a significant role in improving our response efficiency, our ability to detect and apprehend perpetrators, and in life-saving because we are able to reach the critically injured must faster. We have also noticed continuing declines in the number of gunfire incidents in Richmond.

Uniformed officers on motorized patrol in distinctively marked black and white police cars are the most recognizable image of our engaged police presence, and it is the foundation of our patrol strategy, but with modern purposes. Richmond beat officers serve in two equally important roles: they continually balance the readiness required of an emergency responder with the necessary initiative to undertake problem-solving efforts under a geographic focus that addresses problems according to a three-dimensional analysis of available information and data related to victims, offenders and locations—and also take into account partner stakeholders and other available resources that could have an impact on pieces or root causes of the problem. Our patrol compliment also makes use of additional elements of specialized functions that include:

  • Motorcycle traffic patrol and enforcement
  • DUI traffic patrol and enforcement
  • Bicycle and foot patrols
  • Fulltime School Resource Officers at high school campuses in Richmond
  • Marine patrol over Richmond’s waterways
  • Police service dog corps
  • Air patrol support through Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office & California Highway Patrol

Crime Prevention
Preventing crime and maintaining order is the basic mission of the police. It is a duty that we share with the public, our most abundant yet under utilized resource. We know that working together is the best way to make a difference on improving order and on increasing the quality of life in Richmond. Many groups of residents are organized and are actively playing important roles in crime prevention, in part by looking out for neighbors and reporting suspicious activity to police right away. We have 39 registered neighborhood councils; about sixty neighborhood/block/ apartment watch groups; and five active merchant associations throughout Richmond. Many residents also hold more active volunteer participation roles with the Department directly, including police chaplains, police explorers, police interns and several other program volunteers with our Police Activities League (RPAL).

I encourage you to become more knowledgeable about crime prevention and learn how you can help respond to criminal activity. Discover your local community council and get involved. If a council is not active in your neighborhood, visit our Crime Prevention page and find out the steps to organize a neighborhood watch group on your block.

The dedicated men and women of the Richmond Police Department assigned to serve under the Policing Bureau include beat officers, school resource officers and detectives who are knowledgeable in every criminal investigative discipline. You are welcome to get to know who your beat officers are by selecting the Districts tab on our homepage, and I encourage you to contact them directly for help in dealing with neighborhood issues.

I am also available for your questions, comments, concerns, or to hear about how our officers and detectives are doing.