By Scott Bass
While most of Richmond frets over the potential departure of Richmond Police Chief Rodney Monroe, the department's union head isn't worried.
He'd actually be glad to see Monroe go.
"Most officers that I have talked with are ready to see him leave," says Sgt. David Childress, president of the Richmond Coalition of Police, of Monroe's status as finalist to become police chief in Charlotte, N.C. "We're just not happy with his administrative style."
This isn't the first time Childress, of the 3rd Precinct, has voiced his unhappiness with the change from 12-hour shifts to 10-and-a-half-hour-shifts, which he says often leave his precinct short-handed.
"Before we went to sector policing, I was posting 18 people a night," Childress says of the pre-Monroe days. "Now we're humping to meet minimum staffing of 10."
Not to mention the department doesn't have enough cars, he says, which makes his limited manpower even less effective. "I'm having to put guys on the street two or three deep in a car," he says.
Through a spokeswoman, Monroe declined to be interviewed. In the past, he's credited the shift to sector policing in 2005 as enabling the department to put more officers on the street during peak hours, when crime is at its highest.
Childress says the emphasis on lowering crime stats has resulted in unnecessary pressures as well, or "playing with the numbers." He's heard of cases where officers have been pressured to reduce "aggravated assaults to simple assaults," for example, to keep "major crime" statistics artificially low.
How much of that pressure comes directly from Monroe, Childress isn't sure. But it all starts at the top, as far as the union president is concerned.
"They tell people everything is all hunky-dory," Childress says. "There is just a whole lot of extra stress and pressure on everybody that we just didn't have previously."