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Councilor reacts to a survey showing lack of CPD leadership

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 5:30 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A member of Charlottesville City Council is reacting to results of a survey involving city police and what they feel are leadership issues within the department.

About 65 members of the Charlottesville Police Department took a survey conducted by the Virginia Police Benevolent Association. Results show how many of them feel there is a lack of leadership, and many officers are fearful of retaliation on the job.

“They don’t feel like they have a voice with their leadership,” Michael Wells, senior vice president of the Police Benevolent Association’s Central Virginia Chapter Board, said.

This 20-question survey sent out to CPD in July shows signs of internal problems.

“I knew it was bad working conditions, I just didn’t know that it was that bad,” Wells said. “Lack of trust and leadership is the big thing that stuck out to me.”

Eighty-three percent of CPD members say they do not believe Chief RaShall Brackney has the best interest of the department. Additionally, 80% say the chief made them feel less secure in their future with the department.

“They don’t feel like they have a voice with their leadership and that their concerns are heard,” Wells said.

One survey question asked officers what the command staff does well to support you, your job, and the department. One officer responded, “Nothing at all. Only positive thing I can say is that I still receive a paycheck every two weeks.”

Another officer said, “They allow beards now.”

“Clearly there is a large group of people in the police department who are unhappy, and that’s something that the City Manager, the police chief have to get together on,” Councilor Lloyd Snook said.

Wells said he sent a letter to City Manager Chip Boyles to review these results.

“I also sent letters to all city councilors, including the mayor ,” Wells said. “The only one I heard back from was Heather Hill. She said that she would like to meet with me at some point in the future.”

One officer wrote in the survey, “When I took this job in law enforcement, I couldn’t have been more proud to call myself a police officer in the City of Charlottesville. I was eager to learn, keep the city safe, and grow within the department. However, it has become evident over the years that if you make mistakes, no matter how small, you will be punished. If you speak out against the chief because you do not agree and don’t fall in line with her, you will be punished.”

NBC29 reached out to the Charlottesville Police Department, but it did not want to comment on this matter.

If you would like to review a link to the survey responses, you can click here.

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