The city of Richmond, CA is in its fifth straight year of murder rate decline. There were a reported 11 murders in 2014, the lowest rate per capita in recent decades. Most of this turn around is accredited to police Chief Chris Magnus and his grassroot policing style. His unconventional policies have won over many of the residents and political leaders. He advocates for community outreach over show of force.
One of the first things Magnus did when he took over was to disband the department's "street teams," units of heavily armed officers deployed in high-crime areas. The aggressive policing tactics were viewed more like an occupying army than as protectors.
"Magnus also eliminated the seniority system that allowed officers to choose the areas they would patrol. He required officers to take on more responsibilities on their beats beyond responding to calls. Beat officers are required to attend neighborhood meetings and to maintain a high profile at churches, schools and businesses. They’re encouraged to hand out their mobile phone numbers and email addresses to residents."
Magnus is a resident of Richmond, CA, enabiling him to have a closer connection with the community he serves and protects.