Category Archives: Richmond Police

The Power of Social Media: Union Hill Style

Rachel DePompa – bio | email

The folks in Union Hill started an interesting campaign on Twitter three months ago. They began calling out drug dealers in the neighborhood to Richmond Police via the popular social medium. As a result, they were also calling out Richmond Police for not paying enough attention to their neighborhood. The messages that hit the internet were often colorful and frankly, honest.

Here are a few examples of the tweets….

“Black SUV at 900 block of 24th owned by known dealer.”

“Known dealer hanging out at the corner of 24th/M White shirt/white jeans/white hat.”

” Lots of car and foot traffic to the green/white crack house near 24th/M. Come back and visit again today.”

 They neighbors sharing this twitter account have asked to remain anonymous, as it’s dangerous to be calling out illegal activity. It could be the first known twitter campaign in the world to take on drug dealers…. I can’t find another like it through searches on twitter, but who knows?

About 45 days into the campaign, Richmond Police and its chief did a walk through of the  neighborhood. Unfortunately, police denied it had anything to do with the twitter campaign. I know for a fact, police were well aware of it, as was Richmond Crimesolvers.  That organization actively began planning ways to reach out and help the residents in Union Hill with their problem. 

Either way, it appears Richmond Police have stepped up their presence and it seems to be making a difference. The anonymous tweeters posted this message today…. “Richmond Police we can’t say it enough, your noticeably increased presence is appreciated and effective!”

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Richmond Police Trial: Lessons Learned

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email 

Three Richmond Police officers were fighting for their careers this week. They were accused of obstructing justice. And a jury of Richmonders found them NOT GUILTY. The officer’s attorneys had one question today… “was it worth it to bring these charges?”

I will say, it’s a tricky question. There were obviously witnesses at the scene who felt they were being disregarded. I know if I witnessed a crime, at the very least, I would expect police to take down my name and number. But, I’ve also witnessed just how chaotic Shockoe Bottom can be in the early morning hours. People are all over the place… walking the streets, the sidewalks. And I know that crowd control can be one of the scariest and most difficult parts of a police officer’s job. A jury found these officers not guilty, but an internal affairs investigation determined things were mishandled at the scene and the officers were punished internally. One phrase really sums up this case: mis-communication. We don’t want our officers worrying they’ll be accused of obstruction of justice every time they write up a simple report, but we also don’t want them treating citizens, who witnessed a crime, like they don’t matter. It looks like there are lessons to be learned all around.

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