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Press Releases and Announcements

New Police Chief

Media Advisory
July 19, 2023
Contact: Petula Burks
Phone: 804.646.6311

The City of Richmond Selects New Police Chief

Richmond, VA – After a nationwide search, the City of Richmond has named Acting Chief Richard “Rick” Edwards as the city’s new police chief. Edwards has nearly 24 years of law enforcement experience with the Richmond Police Department.

“After numerous interviews, community surveys, and conversations with partners and stakeholders, Rick stood out among all the applicants,” said Lincoln Saunders, the City of Richmond’s Chief Administrative Officer. “He brings decades of experience to this role and has a solid reputation throughout the region. We are excited about his leadership and his commitment to further improving our community.”

Since being appointed as Interim Police Chief, Rick Edwards has worked tirelessly to re-establish trust both within the department and the community. He has implemented new core values, updated policies, and initiated the new body-worn camera release policy. His experience ranges from operational and administrative aspects of policing, including patrol operations, criminal investigations, developing strategies for crime reduction and community engagement, and responding to and addressing security threats.

“I am honored to be selected as the new police chief for The City of Richmond,” Rick Edwards said. “Our goal will be to continue to make the city a safe place for our residents and visitors. I am committed to leading an efficient, well-managed department that is rooted in service to the Richmond community.”

“As Interim Chief, Rick Edwards has been an incredible leader for the City of Richmond. His almost 24 years with RPD have prepared him to meet the challenges our community faces,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “Rick understands that public safety is at its best when it involves members of the community and law enforcement. I can think of no one better suited for this role at this time than Chief Rick Edwards. I look forward to continuing our work to serve the public and address the pressing public safety issues of our city.”

The City of Richmond would like to thank the PoliHire, the City’s Human Resources Department, and the interview panel for their cooperation and diligence throughout the selection process. Most importantly, the City thanks its residents for their patience. The process was a strenuous one that included panel interviews, one-on-one interviews, along with extensive background checks.

The Process
In March 2023, the City of Richmond engaged POLIHIRE to lead an executive search to identify the next Chief of the City’s Police Department.
POLIHIRE announced the position via its networks and relevant platforms on April 4, 2023.

To better understand what the community of Richmond hoped for in a Police Chief, POLIHIRE spoke with members of the City Council as well as with leaders in the greater Richmond community. POLIHIRE also created a survey specifically for the staff of the Richmond Police Department.

POLIHIRE received and processed 26 applications for the Police Chief position. Of those 26 applicants, POLIHIRE conducted initial screenings of the most qualified and identified four to move forward in the process. Of the four invited for interviews, three accepted the invitation to proceed.

Interviews were held during the week of July 10, 2023. 10 leaders of both the City government and the broader Richmond community were invited to participate on the interview panel; 9 accepted.

The Panel
Interviewing for the new chief is a daunting task. The interview panel for the police chief was a diverse group of elected officials, city staff, and community leaders.
Panelists included:

  • Michael Jones (City Council President)
  • Sabrina Joy-Hogg (Deputy CAO)
  • Maggie Anderson (Mayor's Chief of Staff)
  • Tyrome Alexander (HR Director)
  • James Millner (RVA PRIDE)
  • James Minor (NAACP)
  • Carl Scott (RCOP)
  • Dr. William Pelfrey (VCU)
  • Pastor Robert Winfree
  • Lyons Sanchezconcha*

* Invited but did not participate

The Consensus
Following the interview process, the panel unanimously determined that Interim Chief Edwards was the perfect choice to be Police Chief and to continue to lead the men and women of the Richmond Police Department. They noted that he was very well prepared and expressed a strong desire to lead the police force.

City Council President Michael Jones: "As Council President and representative of the 9th District, I am proud to acknowledge the remarkable contributions of Interim Chief Rick Edwards. His innovative approach within the Richmond Police Department is crucial as we envision the department's future. I have yet to arrive at a tragic scene in a neighborhood and not see Chief Edwards. We require a leader who can adapt swiftly and proactively. He has not only demonstrated exceptional leadership but has also displayed a remarkable ability to anticipate challenges, making him a true visionary who values collaboration and inclusivity.

In our community, collaboration and inclusivity are paramount qualities we seek in a police chief. Chief Edwards has consistently demonstrated his dedication to the people, ensuring that every individual is acknowledged and their voices are heard."

Deputy CAO Sabrina Joy-Hogg: "Chief Edwards is fully aware of what’s going on and the challenges facing the department and policing nationally. He brings years of on-the-job experience coupled with state and federal training, respect from across the department and city, and an understanding that this job is not easy, which makes him the right choice for Chief. He knows Richmond. And more importantly, Richmond knows Chief Edwards.”

Maggie Anderson, Mayor's Chief of Staff: “Being the Chief of Police is not an easy job. It takes patience, understanding, dedication, creativity, and an unwavering passion to serve all. Chief Edwards has shown all of those characteristics during his decades of service to RPD and while serving as the Acting Chief of Police. It is clear when you talk to him how much he loves Richmond. I look forward to continuing to work with and learn from him as our new Chief.”

Tyrome Alexander, HR Director: “As the leader of our largest law enforcement unit for the City of Richmond, the chief must be aware and in tune with the officers and the community. Not only is he aware, he satisfies the job requirements set forth in the position description. From day one as Interim Chief, Rick has made his fellow officers and the Richmond community his top priority. The Chief has a strong understanding the Richmond community and the importance of enhancing diversity and inclusion within the ranks of the Police Department. I look forward to working with him as Police Chief.”

James Millner, VIRGINIA PRIDE: “Every candidate we interviewed was great, but Rick was exceptional. His deep love for the city, his understanding of its diversity, and his knowledge of the department make him the right choice for chief of police.”

James Minor, NAACP: “From the beginning of his Interim appointment, Rick made a concerted effort to re-engage with the community at all levels. He was intentional in
reaching out not just to the NAACP but other organizations to have authentic conversations about hard topics. This is the type of leader we need for the Police Department and for our community.”

Carl Scott, RCOP: “RCOP looks forward to working with the new Chief in making the agency equitable and fair for our officers while developing better community relations. As with any Chief, RCOP will hold him to high standards and work together toward progress.”

Dr. William Pelfrey, VCU: “As a researcher who has studied crime in Richmond and policing in cities across the United States, I am confident that Chief Edwards is the right choice to lead the Richmond Police Department. Chief Edwards combines experience across many of the RPD units, in-depth knowledge of Richmond, and a dedication to success that could not be matched. In our interview, I saw a clear orientation towards the success and improvement of Richmond and a personal story that helped Chief Edwards stand out, particularly relative to his integrity and commitment to the officers and civilians that comprise RPD. I have every confidence in the success of the Richmond Police Department with Chief Edwards at the helm.”

Media Opportunities with Chief Edwards:
• Wednesday, July 19, 2023, 5 PM: City of Richmond Police Department community walk in Brookside
• Thursday, July 20, 2023, 10 AM: Quarterly Crime Briefing at Police Headquarters, Focus Room
Media opportunity with Chief Edwards and City Leadership
• Monday, July 24, 2023, 3 PM: Official Swearing-In Ceremony, Council Chambers