Newly appointed Richmond Police Chief Bisa French admits that being the first woman and woman of color to run the 150-person department in its 110-year history brings a lot of pressure.
“Being a woman of color, African-American and Latina, I also know the impacts of law-enforcement on our community,” said French.
The Richmond community has had its share of ups and downs, and French has been there for most of it.
She was hired 22 years ago and worked her way up the ranks.
“I was a teen mom and a local girl,” she said. “I still live in Richmond. It’s important for me to talk about these things because I want the young people in my community to know I came from where you are.”
French is taking on the job at a pivotal time in history. She was appointed interim chief when the chief before her left in the midst of controversy.
There were multiple back-to-back killings, and resources were stretched thin during civil unrest following the death of George Floyd.
“I want to humanize the badge,” she said. “…this bloodshed must end.”
French is aware of President Trump’s plan to send federal agents into some of America’s cities dealing with protests. That’s something she is against. She said she understands the community’s cry to defund local police departments.
“I understand where they are coming from and agree that resources actually need to be put in areas where service can be given to our communities,” she said.
French is still considered interim chief. She will be sworn in August 1.