Bay Area Police Chief Is Changing Attitudes, But Not Without Roadblocks

May 14, 2015
Originally published on May 14, 2015 2:01 pm

As cases in Madison, Wisc., Baltimore, Md., Ferguson, Mo. and elsewhere in the U.S. are stirring the debate over the proper use of police force, one of the police chiefs that has been tapped by states and the federal government to help improve community-police relations and work toward reform is Richmond, Calif.’s Chris Magnus.

Magnus is credited with turning around a department that had a decade-long reputation for racism and ruthlessness by a small group of officers known as the “Cowboys.” Homicides in the Bay Area city of 110,000 are down from 47 in 2007 to just 11 last year. Police-involved shootings have also gone down, after the chief overhauled how his officers are trained and patrol.

But that’s not without issues. In September, Richmond saw the police shooting of Richard Perez, the first fatality at the hands of police in the city since 2007.

Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks with Chief Magnus for a look at what he’s done to reduce crime and what those recent incidents of questionable police force mean for community relations.


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