Northern California chief's new approach revitalizes force

Feb 1, 2015 5:02 PM by News Staff

RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) - A Northern California police chief's grassroots approach to crime-fighting has helped rejuvenate a once-downtrodden department while helping make a violent city safer.

Chris Magnus has been the police chief of the predominantly minority city of Richmond, California, since January 2006. When the openly gay and white chief took over, the department was reeling from scandals, lawsuits and high turnover.

City leaders decided to look outside for a chief and found Magnus, who headed a department in North Dakota.

While similar cities grapple with vocal and sometime-violent unrest over police relations, Magnus, 64, and his department have won over many residents and political leaders with an unconventional policing style that emphasizes community outreach over a show of force.

Violent crime, including the murder rate, has plummeted in the city.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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