From Brown to French, it’s official
on September 13, 2019
RICHMOND, CA – Interim City Manager Steven Falk named Assistant Police Chief Bisa French as the new interim chief of police for Richmond after announcing at Tuesday’s City Council meeting that Police Chief Allwyn Brown stepped down from his position.
French is the city’s first black woman to lead the Richmond Police Department. Interim City Manager Falk indicated there will be no active search for a new permanent police chief this year.
“It is not my intention to initiate a recruitment for a new police chief during my tenure here which runs through January 15,” Falk said.
The departure of former Chief Brown, who served the Richmond community for 35 years, followed last week’s majority vote of no confidence by the members of the Richmond Police Officers Association. Former Chief Brown didn’t respond to email requests for comment.
Though city officials provided scant details of Brown’s departure, the vote came a year after an internal assessment by a MBD Solutions, a Boston-based consulting group, indicated workplace environment issues within the department. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Richmond Police Officers Association President Benjamin Therriault said the consulting group’s 2018 assessment of the department had gutted leadership and indicated weak direction for the department.
“Obviously, there has been some turmoil internally and I want to bring stability to the department…,” Interim Chief French said in an interview with Richmond Confidential. “[By] working with the police office association to address some of the concerns that they brought forth, we can all get on the same page and move in the same direction.”
In addition to this transition of power, the Chronicle reported four officers left the police department with another eight planning to do the same by the end of the year, suggesting Brown’s leadership was a reason. However, Interim Chief French said other work issues such as compensation and benefits were key reasons for these departures.
“A lot of agencies, especially BART, are offering compensation packages that we just can’t compete with,” French said.
French also cited other issues she’s planning to focus on during her tenure.
“There hasn’t been a harmonious relationship between the Police Officer’s Association and management association [and] my goal is to change that culture and resolve those issues.”
Photo above is courtesy of Richmond Police Department.
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