Critical report says low morale is biggest issue for Richmond P.D.

A 15-page report by an outside consultant released this week criticized the leadership of the Richmond  Police Department.

Low morale appears to be one of the the biggest problems. Rank and file police officers express a lack of confidence in the department's upper management.

"..there exists strong belief that the command staff is apathetic, unaccountable and not competent to lead RPD to the next level." the report stated.

Police Chief Allwyn Brown said he welcomed the analyses by MBD Innovations of Boston.

"I think it is good to have an outside perspective if you are interested in improving and getting better," said Brown.

The president of the Richmond Police Officers Association said low morale is a serious problem, and widespread.

"It is going to take a culture change within the police management in how they interact with line staff and the way policies and procedures are implemented within the police department," said Detective Benjamin Therriault, President of the Richmond Police Officers Association. 

"The most important thing is to try to bridge the gaps when they are identified. And that's the advantage of having open dialogues," said Brown.

The report was also critical of how the chief handled a sex scandal two years ago involving at least six officers who were involved with a teenage sex worker named Jasmine Abuslin.

At one point Abuslin had gone to a Florida rehab center with the help of Richmond police, a move that proved highly controversial.

"..the decision to facilitate the transport of Jamine [sic] Abuslin is not the type of decision made in a vacuum and discussed after the fact," the report said. 

The report also criticized a quote "less than optimal" relationship with the city manager and other city leaders.

And it said the department leadership lacked a comprehensive plan for reaching out to some parts of the community.

Mayor Tom Butt says the report will be useful in making improvements.

"There have been tumultuous things going on. It was probably a good time to look at it. Based on the report we have some work to do," said Butt.

The report did also offer praise.

It said despite internal problems the department is still delivering quality service to the community.