New Richmond, Va., Chief Calls Job Change A “Huge Risk”


When a mistrustful witness wouldn’t talk, New Haven, Ct., detective chief Robert Lawlor knew that Detective Bryan Norwood had a way of putting even hardened criminals at ease, convincing them they’d get a fair shake. Lawlor knew that Norwood would refuse to mislead a suspect into thinking he’d be going home that night, if jail was where he really was headed, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “He absolutely wouldn’t lie,” said Lawlor. Norwood would tell him, “I’ve got to go home. I’ve got to live with this.” Norwood, the new Richmond police chief, was widely seen in New Haven as a man of integrity who stayed above politics and never forgot what it was like to be a patrolman as he rose through the ranks.

In 2006, Norwood became chief in Bridgetport, Ct. He saw an opportunity to make positive change, focusing on community policing and enhancing officer safety — one of his highest priorities since one of his officers was shot as the two stood shoulder-to-shoulder. While city officials and neighborhood leaders praised his efforts, rank and file officers resent some of Norwood’s changes in a city beleaguered by a financial crisis as the police union is negotiating a new contract. Norwood, 42, is about to land in another uncertain political environment in Richmond, where he is scheduled to begin work Nov. 3, the day before a new mayor is elected. “It’s a huge risk, absolutely,” he said. “I believe that there’s a time and place for everything. I believe that my time and place is Richmond. I believe I’ve been given this opportunity for a reason.”


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