Henrico Police announce plan to reduce response to calls

Henrico County Police has generated quite a buzz with its announcement about a “Calls for Service Reduction Plan” that went into effect Monday, March 18.

Under the plan, Henrico officers will change how they responds to certain types of calls and will stop responding to some calls altogether.

According to Henrico Police Chief Eric English, in the past, the department’s officers have been put in positions to respond to calls where they have no legal authority. That has prevented officers from responding to priority calls in a timely and efficient manner. It’s also led to a lack of available units.

The new plan will “reduce our call volume to provide to provide better, more efficient response times to community members in need,” said English.

“The overall goal of this plan is to ensure more officers are visible in your community,” the plan document says.

With this new plan, English said, when calls come in to dispatch, each call will be assessed on a call-by-call basis to assess the appropriate response. Here are the types of changes Henrico Police have decided to make:

Animal Calls

Henrico’s patrol officers will leave “low priority animal calls and calls for advice [on animals]” to animal protection officers.

Animal calls between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. will be left as “pending” until an animal protection officer is marked as on duty unless it’s an incident where there’s:

· an injured animal.

· an animal attacking a person or another animal.

· an allegation of active animal cruelty.

In those instances, Henrico patrol officers will respond between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Medical emergencies

English has assured the public that Henrico Police will continue responding to all emergency calls, including calls to provide life-saving measures until other first responders arrive and calls where life-threatening crimes are in progress.

However, Henrico Police was answering a variety of calls alongside Henrico Fire. Patrols officers may not respond to calls where other first responders don’t need the police, according to English.

The plan document notes certain calls will get additional screening before police are dispatched, such as

· medical calls with a history of medical issues but no immediate need for police.

· complaints against nursing staff at a facility where there’s no criminal allegation.

· Calls where alcohol and legal drugs are present but there’s no violence and no other hazard to Henrico Fire.

Welfare checks

To prevent unnecessary confrontations or contact when police don’t have authority or no laws are being broken, Henrico Police deems calls low priority if they involve incidents, such as:

· People walking in the median.

· Homeless individuals “who appear to be fine.”

· The caller can check on the person they’re concerned about but refuses to.


Henrico Police won’t be responding to calls about panhandlers unless the individual is violating traffic laws, being disorderly, trespassing, or causing a road hazard.


If shoplifiting is in progress, police will come.

But in cases where the victim doesn’t want to prosecute but needs a report for insurance or when there is no evidence to be collected and the crime already happened, those incidents are now handled by the Telephone Reporting Unit.

Vehicles & bikes

Patrol units won’t be responding to calls for abandoned vehicles or recovered bicycles. These incidents are assigned to the Community Policing Unit, “handles quality of life issues,” noted English.

Marijuana use

Officers will continue to respond to drug transactions in progress. But don’t expect to see police showing up for complaints of people smoking weed in a residential building. Those complaints will passed along to Crime Stoppers.

Complaints of past drug transactions made on residential property will also be passed along to Crime Stoppers and the Criminal Intelligence Unit. intelligence for further investigative assignment. Officers will respond to active drug transactions.

Henrico Police Dept. is working on a self-reporting portal for these types of incidents.

Juvenile problems

Henrico Police Officers will no longer respond to juvenile problems “without a nexus to crime.”

For example police aren’t responding to loud noise calls, such children running through hallways in an apartment complex or knock-and-run incidents. If there is “a clear violation to the County’s noise ordinance” an officer will still respond, said English.

Henrico Police also isn’t the place to call for assistance with parenting, truancy, or requests for an officer to speak with a child about the consequences of their actions.

The department said there are many resources to help with juvenile problems, such as school counselors, school resource officers, and mental health providers.

English said this new plan will be a learning curve for the community members, patrol units and dispatchers.

He said, on average, the department receives an average of 139,000 calls annually, and the new plan could decrease of nearly 5,000 calls.

English also reminded that the department is working on a citizen’s self-reporting portal to address more of the public’s needs.

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