Richmond Upgrades Training, Stats On Use Of Force


Until last fall, the Richmond, Va., Police Department’s policy on retraining its officers on the use of force, with few exceptions, essentially boiled down to this: Officers went to the range, fired a certain number of rounds at various distances and under night and day conditions to qualify for state recertification of their police powers, and left, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “There was no actual use-of-force training,” said Police Chief Rodney Monroe. “No actual use-of-force instruction, no dynamic scenarios. No discussion of the continuum of the use of force, or case law or policy on investigation. None of that existed.”

Monroe changed that policy within his first few months of taking over last February. In September, the Richmond Police Academy embarked on an ambitious program to put all of the department’s 660-plus full-time sworn personnel through an eight-hour use-of-force training program twice a year. By the end of last year, all officers had completed the first eight-hour program. Among them was officer Everett Woolums, who who shot and fatally wounded an unarmed man last week. .Since 2001, nine people have died in police-involved shootings in Richmond. Officers have stood trial on criminal charges in two of the cases. None has been convicted. It wasn’t until two years ago that the department began to track its number of use-of-force incidents. A spokesman acknowledged that the lack of a system “did not provide for any department-wide analysis to look for any trends or patterns in neighborhoods or within police units.”


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