One of the first things Magnus did when he took over was to disband the department's "street teams," units of heavily armed officers deployed in high-crime areas.
The teams stopped "everything that moved," Richmond Police Capt. Mark Gagan said, in hopes of finding suspects with warrants or carrying small amounts of illegal drugs. ...many in the community perceived the aggressive street teams as an occupying army.*
Magnus also eliminated the seniority system that allowed officers to choose the areas they would patrol. He required officers to take on more responsibilities on their beats beyond responding to calls. Beat officers are required to attend neighborhood meetings and to maintain a high profile at churches, schools and businesses. They're encouraged to hand out their mobile phone numbers and email addresses to residents.What he's doing is working. Crime of all types has plummeted, and citizen cooperation--in a city that's 1/3 black, 1/3 hispanic, and 1/3 white--is skyrocketing.
I am not surprised it's working. I live in a small town in the Midwest, and I've seen anti-cop sentiment skyrocketing as the cops get more belligerent, confrontational, and self-isolating. They're not acting like soldiers--not ours, at least, since ours are trying to win the hearts and minds of the nations they're occupying in the attempt to aid. No, the police around here are acting like the Nazi occupation did, in areas they suspected people of aiding the Jews.
In the town where I grew up, on the other hand, we had two cops. They tended to get bored and lonely while they were patrolling, and go to wherever people were gathered, and just hang out. Everyone knew them, everyone liked them, and everyone...cooperated. Even the local pot grower/dealer (and yes, they did know he did that...and didn't care because...) tended to let them know who was making meth, and where. Everyone trusted them to do the right thing, and not to go shooting people's pets...or the people who they were supposed to be protecting.
People cooperate with their neighbors. No one with any amount of self-respect is going to cooperate with an occupying enemy army that acts like jackbooted thugs. And Chief Magnus gets that.
Unfortunately, very few other departments or chiefs do.