by Jon Baliles

The rise in crime across the region and especially the City is naturally a cause of concern. A rise in crimes against deputies and other inmates in the Richmond Jail is flat-out disturbing. The Free Press went to the City Council Public Safety Committee meeting — that was attended only by Councilwoman Reva Trammell — who discussed the issue with Sheriff Antoinette Irving.

“Just since last Friday, July 22, according to information provided to The Free Press, a female deputy was punched in the face, three inmates suffered serious stab wounds and two inmates had to be revived after overdosing on illegal drugs.”

That followed another “savage attack on a female deputy July 7 that had left the woman with a broken jaw and other injuries.”

The Free Press has been told the sheriff has advised others, including police officers, that the assault never took place and was so upset when the newspaper disclosed it in the July 14-16 edition that she temporarily barred distribution of the edition to inmates and staff.

The assault, however, illustrates the jail’s deterioration of safety and security.
Since Irving took office, there have been reports of deputies being knocked unconscious, being punched in the face, being spit on and having human waste thrown at them. According to sources, Sheriff Irving has not allowed deputies to file charges for the assaults.

Irving said there are 160 vacant deputy positions, up from 100 last year.
“The shortfall has impacted the sheriff’s ability to manage the jail and carry out her other duties, including providing security at the three city courthouses and serving civil papers carrying out evictions.”

“Shifts that once had 40 deputies before she took office in 2018 can muster only 10 or 12 deputies to monitor cameras and patrol the cellblocks or pods that are on all six floors of the building – leaving inmates largely to police themselves.”
Of course, the Sheriff is in charge of staffing and hiring and firing so if those are issues (and 160 vacancies is horrific), and these assaults are occurring so frequently, then the buck stops…where, exactly?

The article continues with some interviews with former deputies but is troubling all the way through as it seems the growing problems we have on our streets seem to be going from bad to worse in jail and no sign of getting better soon.

This column has been republished with permission from RVA 5X5.

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12 responses to “Where Does the Buck Stop?”

  1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    Conditions in local and regional jails often are often overlooked in the media and by society. This report is disturbing. If it is true that the sheriff is covering up the assaults and, especially, if she is preventing deputies from filing assault charges, that is a serious dereliction of duty. In fact, the deputies should have the responsibility of filing charges; the sheriff should take the lead in filing those charges.

    If the conditions reported here are anywhere near the truth, then there is little wonder that the sheriff is having trouble filling vacancies. Being a deputy in a jail is a hard job and can be dangerous. Who would want to work for a sheriff who will not protect her deputies?

    1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
      James Wyatt Whitehead

      It doesn’t add up Mr. Dick. Sheriff Irving has the perfect resume for this job. Replete with awards and recognition. Even a PHD. Something else must be restraining the Sheriff from executing her duties.

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Yeah, election.

  2. JayCee Avatar

    Richmond is run by Democrats. They are one Republican away from fixing what Democrats caused.

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      “What states have produced the least educated populace? That would be Mississippi and West Virginia. They are governed by Republicans. Which has the greatest percentage of people living below the poverty line? There is Mississippi again. Mississippi hasn’t had a Democratic governor in two decades. Alabama, Arkansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, that’s not just a list of states where the GOP has a lock on statewide elected office, it also happens to be a partial list of states with the highest infant mortality rates. You name the measure of prosperity, education, health and well-being and chances are a state with a Republican governor and usually a Republican-controlled legislature have the worst outcomes.”

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            Who is “netadvisor” and where are they getting their data? Looks like a one-man site and maybe 2014 data?

            ” About Net Advisor™ (Bio)

            NetAdvisor™ attended both public and private schools, and is a college graduate from the University of Southern California (USC), Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism with a research-based education covering the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Behavioral Psychology) and Communication Theory. NetAdvisor™ has a prior education in Business Administration, Finance with an unofficial minor in law.”

      1. The top 20 most dangerous cities are run by Democrat mayors.

      2. Statistics are complicated by the fact that higher crime rates in GOP states reflect greater reporting by urban Democrats rather than a higher incidence of crime. In GOP states is crime higher in red or blue areas? In VA crime is higher in Blue city Richmond?

  3. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Does your PD have too many vacancies? Just have to advertise correctly: “Too many brutality complaints in your current job affecting your opportunity to advance? Now accepting applications for all positions in the (insert city here) Police and Sheriff Departments.”

  4. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    I have some proposed federal regulation…
    “The triangle shall be an equilateral, situated on a flat surface, of height no less than 10mm with a number within of height no less than 7mm”

    I’m speaking of the recycling symbol on packaging.

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