Police

‘I got a lot of future. … I want to do something positive’: RPAL helps keep kids from returning to jail.

At 15, Demaria was arrested for carrying a gun to school and was sent to West County Detention Facility for 10 days.  Tall in stature and brusque in manner, Demaria said he remembers the nights there as lonely.  “The lights were switched off at 10 p.m., and you couldn’t distract yourself with a book or anything else,” he said.  To avoid any chance of returning to juvenile hall, Demaria — whom Richmond Confidential is identifying only by his first name…

People of Richmond: Should the city fill its many vacant police positions or just cut them?

“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity. Q: Do you think the Richmond Police Department should fill its 23 vacancies or eliminate those positions? “Based on my own personal experience, of course, I don’t know if I want all 23 filled. I feel like we could have a certain percentage filled and then possibly divert money toward more mental health…

Still pushing for prosecution, Pedie Perez family helps train Richmond officers to avoid using force

Rick Perez wanted Richmond’s new police officers to see his son’s face and remember it when they go into the field. So he brought a photo of Richard, called Pedie by family and friends, and held it up as he faced Officers Ruben Ramirez, Mikail Meadors and Robert Carlos on the other side of a conference table at the Richmond Police Department last week. “My son was 24 at the time. You guys are probably real close to that age.”…

Like departments across the country, Richmond police force struggling to recruit officers

The Richmond Police Department is facing an uphill battle in its search for new recruits.  “Not very many people want to be in law enforcement anymore,” said Sgt. Donald Patchin, spokesperson for the department’s Personnel, Recruiting and Training unit. “It’s not just us. It’s industry-wide. Everybody is struggling to find qualified applicants.”  A survey published in April by the Police Executive Research Forum shows agencies are losing sworn officers faster than they can hire them, with responding agencies saying they’d…

People of Richmond: Will the city’s crisis response plan be a good option to calling police?

“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity. Q: Do you think Richmond’s plan to create an alternative response team to handle mental health calls will be successful? “It could be successful – I mean, it depends on how well it’s funded; how well it’s staffed. But, as a concept, I think it’s an interesting and a good one.” (Karin Rosman,…

Overworked and understaffed, Richmond 911 dispatch requires poise under pressure: ‘Some people can handle it, and some people can’t.’

It’s Friday night around 7 p.m. at Richmond’s Communications Center and Yvonne Lima is just 30 minutes into her 12-hour graveyard shift.  The center, which answers emergency and non-emergency phone calls for both Richmond and El Cerrito, is in charge of dispatching police, fire, and medical services. “911 what’s the address of your emergency?” echoes through the room, which is smaller than the 911 dispatch centers depicted on television.  Brief alarm sounds blare in unison every 30 seconds from speakers…

Richmond to launch pilot crisis response program, taking police off certain calls

Richmond City Council took a big step this month toward an alternative emergency response program that would give residents an option to calling the police. Expected to start in August as an 18-month pilot, the Community Crisis Response Program will serve as a non-police emergency service, responding to mental health or low-level emergency 911 calls such as family disputes or wellness checks.  The decision comes after Oakland and Contra Costa County put similar programs in place. Since the murders of…

Richard ‘Pedie’ Perez’s memory lives on in public safety changes

Nine years after Richard “Pedie” Perez III died at the hands of a Richmond police officer, the department will honor Perez’s memory by requiring officers to participate in new cultural sensitivity training, beginning in November.  On Sept. 14, 2014, Perez was shot and killed by then-Richmond Police Officer Wallace Jensen outside of Uncle Sam’s Liquor Store on Cutting Boulevard. He was unarmed and nonviolent, according to six witnesses. Jensen retired from the department and the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office…

California leads nation in catalytic converter thefts, which Richmond motorists know all too well

Catalytic converter thefts have been rapidly climbing since 2019, with California leading the nation in thefts. And Richmond is no stranger to the surge, as auto repair shops cite a steady stream of vehicles that need catalytic converters. To address the problem, legislators passed three laws this summer that would put trackable labels on converters, impose harsher criminal penalties for those selling or buying converters without documentation, and prioritizing vehicle parts thefts for the California Highway Patrol’s Regional Property Crimes…