RPD Ride-Along: Night on the Richmond beat
on September 19, 2014
Officers Brandon Ruffin and Jennifer Cortez patrol the central beat, an area comprising Richmond’s inner city and high crime Iron Triangle neighborhood. Some shifts pop with energy and danger – including reports of sometimes deadly gunfire – while others are placid.
“It comes in waves,” Ruffin, 28, says as he slides the cruiser through a back alley. “The key is to keep the bad waves small and quick.”
Cortez, 29, who has been Ruffin’s partner on the beat for one year, says she prefers the busy nights, the feeling of accomplishment. But frustration comes with the job too. “It can get discouraging when you put someone in jail, then see ‘em out on the street the next week.”
It was a relatively quiet summer night for the Richmond Police Department on Thursday, but action has picked up in the past month. There have been several shootings and one stabbing, as well as an officer-involved shooting outside of Uncle Sam’s Liquor Store on Cutting Blvd.
When cruising down 23rd St., their presence is immediately felt. Some people turn away from the squad car, ducking down side streets. The officers recognize a lot of the faces lit by Cortez’s side-mounted spotlight: prostitutes (“B-girls,” for the 647-B call-in code), gang members, drug addicts.
The officers’ strategy when engaging someone can be categorized in three words: defuse, calm, human.
The photo gallery above chronicles last Thursday’s night patrol and another on Sept. 11.
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