By Bill Robinson
The Richmond City Commission approved a new, four-year contract Tuesday for Police Chief Larry Brock.
The chief's current six-year contract expires June 30, and the new contract will keep him on duty through June 30, 2017.
Brock's base pay under the new contract will be $70,000, and he is due to receive the same incremental pay raises that go to other employees. The current contract started Brock at $63,000 and called for him to receive two annual pay hikes of 2 percent, but he did not take increases in years other city employees did not receive across-the-board raises, Brock said in a Wednesday interview.
Also, when other police officers lost their uniform allowances, Brock said he gave his up also although his contract called for him to continue receiving it.
Under his tenure, Brock said he believes the city’s police officers “feel more accountable to the citizens” and “take more pride in their jobs.”
Morale has improved, the chief said, because officers are confident that opportunities for them are now based on job performance rather than “other factors” that may have played a role in past decision-making.
Brock also said he believes the police department has reclaimed some of the “confidence and trust of the public that may have been lost in the past.”
That has been gained through the “good work” the officers are doing, he said. Improved public trust is a reward for the department’s good work, which in turn has helped boost morale, the chief said.
RPD still has “a lot of things to get done,” Brock continued. A number of departmental polices need to be revised, he said, and among the chief’s goals is to have the agency accredited by the state or national association.
Maintaining the same level of protection and service with fewer people, even as the city continues to grow, will remain a challenge, he said. The department has 58 officers on duty, in training about or about to enter the police academy, Brock said after a new officer was hired for training earlier this month. The department has a budgeted strength of 60.
Mayor Jim Barnes said he and other members of the commission believe Brock has done “an excellent job and didn’t want to lose him” if he wanted to continue leading the department.
Also Tuesday, the commission approved borrowing $1.21 million at 1.15 percent interest from U.S. Bancorp for five years to purchase 40 new police cars. The city has not purchased a new police cruiser in three years, and 25 vehicles in the department’s fleet of 60 are nine years old, Brock said. Several other cruisers are seven to eight years old. That is rather old for front-line police cars, the chief said.
Bill Robinson can be reached at editor@
or at 624-6690.