Lynchburg police present action plan to strengthen bond with community
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020, drawing civil unrest nationwide, Lynchburg police have been creating an action plan to collaborate with the community. This is not just a one-and-done type of a plan,” said Police Chief Ryan Zuidema, who presented that plan to Lynchburg City Council on Tuesday. Gloria Witt, a community and social justice activist, is also a consultant and was hired by police to facilitate those gatherings. “We want to free up our officers to have more free time so they’re engaging in our community in a non-enforcement setting,” said Zuidema. Witt believes over the last few months, police have been listening and responding, “The work they’ve done so far is admirable.
WATCH: Lynchburg police chief, mother of woman shot dead hold press conference
Lynchburg police chief Ryan Zuidema and Jill Rice, the mother of a woman shot dead in her car last month, are holding a press conference around 1 p.m.Police in Lynchburg are looking for three men to question in connection with a woman’s recent death. 28-year-old Samantha Robinson was “simply driving down 12th street when a bullet entered her vehicle” and hit her on Thursday, according to police. 28-year-old Samantha Robinson was “simply driving down 12th street when a bullet entered her vehicle” and hit her on Thursday, according to police. From L to R, Najiee J'hode Turner, Dia Montae Cedrik Taylor, and Leondre Tymere Strange (not pictured). “This senseless act of violence took a young woman from her family and our community way too soon,” Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema said.
Lynchburg sees two homicides in a week, four in two months
That’s becoming an all-too-familiar experience for Lynchburg residents due to the rise in homicides in recent months. She was taken to Centra Lynchburg General Hospital (WSLS)“She is an innocent victim, obviously driving down the road. [She] was, unfortunately, in the wrong place in the wrong time,” said Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema. Zuidema calls Lynchburg a safe community only averaging three to four homicides a year. “There are situations involved in these last four homicides, over the last couple of months, where we know factually there are witnesses to these homicides that will not cooperate.
‘We’ve got to take action’: Lynchburg vigil calls for change after recent homicides
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Dozens of Lynchburg residents fed up with the violence in the city came together in a plea for peace Sunday night. A vigil on the corner of 12th and Kemper streets remembered three recent homicide victims in the Hill City. We’ve got to take action,” said James Camm of One Community One Voice, who organized the vigil. There’s a family that’s grieving without understanding.”Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema and Commonwealth’s Attorney Bethany Harrison strongly condemned Robinson’s murder during the vigil. “It means we have unnecessarily lost another life in our community.”“This is a new low for our fine city,” Harrison said.
Lynchburg woman charged with filing false police report relating to arrest, police Taser usage
LYNCHBURG, Va. – A months-long internal investigation didn’t have the result one Lynchubrg woman hoped it would. Lynchburg police determined that an accusation related to an arrest and Taser usage in the area of Old Forest Road on June 2 did not happen. Members of the Lynchburg Police Department worked with Commonwealth’s Attorney Bethany Harrison and determined the appropriate charge. Jaccarra Taylor, 22, of Lynchburg, is charged with filing a false police report, a Class 1 misdemeanor and was taken into custody Thursday night without incident and was released on bond, according to Lynchburg police. This false allegation tied up resources that could have otherwise been used to keep our community safe.”
Lynchburg sees uptick in infant sleep-related deaths this year
LYNCHBURG, Va. – When it comes to sleeping babies, local child care experts want parents to wake up. “The Virginia State Child Fatality Review Team determined 87% of non-natural infant deaths between 2014-2016 were sleep-related in nature,” said Shannon Miles of Centra. Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema and Fire Chief Greg Wormser also had some advice for parents with young children. The 2018 data showed that 85% of sleep-related deaths in the state of Virginia were tied to infants who were sleeping on a couch, a bed or some other inappropriate sleep surface,” Chief Wormser added. Other things to keep in mind: using a firm sleep surface with a firm crib mattress covered by a fitted sheet and checking regularly for product recalls.
Area police departments celebrate National Night Out
ROANOKE, VA. – Tuesday night, police departments across the country and right here in Southwest Virginia gathered for National Night Out, an event designed to build connections and work on crime reduction. National Night Out brings neighborhood groups together with officers and other public safety officials. The event is designed to bring law enforcement and the community together, building bridges between the two. “This is fantastic to see the community coming in, this is what we want to bring an atmosphere for our law enforcement where we can introduce our law enforcement officers to the community in a non-enforcement environment," Ward said. “I like to give less attention to what the relationships are like and more attention to what opportunities exist to create better relationships," Roman said.
Cops and community gather for ‘National Night Out’
The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies. The department participated in “National Night Out,” an annual event focused on strengthening the bond between law enforcement and the community. Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema stressed the department’s connection with the community following violent demonstrations earlier this year. “If we’ve heard anything as a part of this movement, it’s that we’re going to continue to listen to our residents. We got a lot of really good feedback from folks in our community, and I think that’s an ongoing process" said Zuidema.
Lynchburg Police Chief: Larger budget needed to hire 26 more officers
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg’s top cop needs more money from city council to bring in 26 more officers. On Tuesday, police chief Ryan Zuidema told council members the $18 million budget is not enough to meet the community’s needs. The department just finished its yearlong assessment and found they will need to add five officers over the next five years to balance out Lynchburg’s growing population. So, if we want to meet the expectations of our community, we need additional funding to do that,” Zuidema said. Zuidema said he doesn’t have a price on how much it will cost to hire more officers.
New police reform group in Lynchburg calls for department to make improvements
LYNCHBURG, Va. The protests in Lynchburg have simmered down, but work is still happening behind the scenes. Hobson spoke Thursday on behalf of a newly formed group called Alliance for Police Reform. Its made up of several Lynchburg pastors, citizens and community-based organizations that want to see improvements made within Lynchburgs police department. Location: College Hill Center, 811 Jackson StreetCommunity Listening Session #5Date: Wednesday, July 28, 2020Time: 6 to 8 p.m. Location: Jubilee Center, 1512 Florida AvenueCommunity Listening Session #6Date: Thursday, August 6, 2020Time: 6 to 8 p.m.
Lynchburg group calling to remove school resource officers
LYNCHBURG, Va. On Tuesday night one group will be able to make its pitch to the Lynchburg School Board about why the division should no longer have school resource officers. Due to the coronavirus, the school board is asking Reason Chandler, with Virginia Organizing, and Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema to send letters in via email explaining why school resource officers should go or stay. Part of my letter also asks the school board and Dr. Edwards, who is our superintendent, to maybe hand this off to our equity task force, said Chandler, whos also a Lynchburg dad asking the school board to remove all school resource officers. Right now, there are a total of five school resource officers spread out in the middle and high schools. But first, school board members are expected to read their letters out loud to the public on Tuesday evening.
Lynchburg police chief talks race with officers of color, creates internal diversity committee
Every Wednesday in July, police chief Ryan Zuidema will listen to people’s personal experiences with officers from the department. Before he can have an open dialogue with the Black community, Zuidema is also speaking with his Black officers to find out how they feel. As of May this year, LPD had 19 Black officers and recruits, and four Hispanic officers and recruits. 10 News asked the chief if officers have come to him to express their thoughts on diversity. Zuidema says there are some people of color who qualify for promotion, but there aren’t any openings at the moment.
Citizens share personal stories about police in Lynchburg’s first series of listening sessions
In the first of many listening sessions--- people spoke about their personal experiences with police officers. The next listening session is will be the Diamond Hill Center on July 9. Location: Diamond Hill Center, 1005 17th StreetCommunity Listening Session #3Date: Wednesday, July 15, 2020Time: 6 to 8 p.m. Location: Daniel's Hill Center, 317 Norwood StreetCommunity Listening Session #4Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2020Time: 6 to 8 p.m. Location: College Hill Center, 811 Jackson StreetCommunity Listening Session #5Date: Wednesday, July 28, 2020Time: 6 to 8 p.m.
Lynchburg Police Department begins series of listening sessions with community
He has his ears plugged into the neighborhoods where some say LPD’s listening sessions won’t make a difference. Jefferson Park Center is the first stop for the police department in the listening sessions. Below is a full list of when and where the listening sessions will be. Location: Diamond Hill Center, 1005 17th StreetCommunity Listening Session #3Date: Wednesday, July 15, 2020Time: 6 to 8 p.m. Location: College Hill Center, 811 Jackson StreetCommunity Listening Session #5Date: Wednesday, July 28, 2020Time: 6 to 8 p.m.
As Lynchburg community demands change from police, chief shares plan for moving forward
LYNCHBURG, Va. On Tuesday night, Lynchburgs police chief Ryan Zuidema educated city council and the public about the departments proactive approach to address community concerns about policing. Thats our commitment to the community, Zuidema said. Zuidema said he recognizes they are woefully behind in diversity and the department does not reflect the entire Lynchburg community. We need help in identifying young men, women of color that can serve here in the Lynchburg police department, Zuidema said. During the hourslong council meeting, Lynchburg community members requested change within the police department.
Lynchburg city, protest leaders call for peaceful gatherings this weekend
LYNCHBURG, Va. – For three consecutive nights, Mackton Saunders successfully led a large crowd, protesting peacefully for inequality, through Lynchburg streets. "That's the only way to get anybody's attention here is peaceful protest,” Saunders said. Earlier this week, protests turned violent with shots fired calls, damage to businesses and police throwing tear gas toward protesters. Police said seven people including a 14-year-old boy are facing charges for incidents related to protests on Sunday and Monday night. Chief Zuidema said though he feels comfortable lifting the curfew, it will be a reevaluating decision based on protests Friday night and Saturday afternoon at Miller Park.
Heated city council meeting leads to change in Lynchburg’s curfew
LYNCHBURG, Va. – A Lynchburg City Council meeting got heated at times on Wednesday as city leaders discussed changing the time of the newly-established curfew. This move comes after city leaders declared a state of emergency amid three nights of protests throughout the Hill City, two of which turned violent. Wednesday’s special city council meeting came with a lot of fight back. “(They) won’t meet the curfew because you as a working person can’t workout in a gym at 5 in the morning," said city council member Jeff Helgeson. Under the new curfew ordinance, the city manager will check in with Zuidema every day at noon on whether or not to extend the curfew.
Lynchburg police arrest two more people, ask for assistance from Virginia National Guard
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Two more people are facing charges in connection with protests that turned violent over the past few nights in Lynchburg. [WATCH: Lynchburg officials hold press conference to discuss chaotic protests, mandatory curfew]Demetre Wade, 25, of Lynchburg, is charged with assault on a police officer, projecting a missile at an occupied dwelling, property damage and unlawful assembly. Mackton Saunders, 31, of Lynchburg, is charged with unlawful assembly related to Monday night’s protest after it was declared unlawful. Lynchburg police chief Ryan Zuidema requested mobilization of the Virginia Army National Guard to Lynchburg to ensure the police department has “adequate response capability” to protect citizens in light of the violence that took place in Lynchburg and other cities across the state over the past few days.
WATCH: Lynchburg officials hold press conference to discuss chaotic protests, mandatory curfew
Lynchburg officials hold press conference to discuss chaotic protests, mandatory curfew Lynchburg leaders are holding a news conference to discuss last night's protests and tonight's mandatory curfew. The curfew was announced Monday afternoon, and although the curfew is in effect Monday night, police will not be enforcing it. Beginning Tuesday night, curfew violations will be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. The curfew was announced Monday afternoon, and although the curfew is in effect Monday night, police will not be enforcing it. Beginning Tuesday night, curfew violations will be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Lynchburg makes curfew violation a misdemeanor offense, starting Tuesday night
LYNCHBURG, Va. – What was originally announced as a voluntary curfew has now been given teeth, but not until tomorrow. Starting at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Lynchburg police have the authority to enforce a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. The curfew was announced Monday afternoon, and although the curfew is in effect Monday night, police will not be enforcing it. Beginning Tuesday night, curfew violations will be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. The curfew goes into effect at 8 p.m. and lasts until 6 a.m. and people are being asked to remain home during that time.
Lynchburg police create new ways to reach growing Hispanic population
LYNCHBURG, Va. Lynchburg police is pushing new efforts to reach the growing Hispanic population in the city. Twice a month the department puts out informational videos for citizens on social media since closing its doors at the start of the pandemic. Police Chief Ryan Zuidema saids the videos, also in English, are an opportunity to connect with the Hispanic community. We want to make sure to reach out to those who Spanish is their first language. Zuidema said there are five Spanish-fluent speaking officers in the department and he hopes to hire more.
Lynchburg officers hold virtual memorial for National Police Week
LYNCHBURG, Va. – It’s National Police Week and local departments are paying tribute to their fallen brothers and sisters in blue. Lynchburg police held a virtual memorial in front of the public safety building to remember officers who died while serving. With just the command staff on site, the police chief invited the public to be a part of the annual ceremony via Facebook Live. Since last year’s memorial, three officers in Virginia died. If you want to watch the ceremony, click here.
‘He’s a fighter, and he can do this’: Surprise ceremony encourages former officer with cancer
FOREST, Va. – Dave Weeks served as a police officer in Lynchburg for 34 years. On Sunday, his old department provided him with a different kind of service to help him through his fight with cancer. Zuidema said he called all of the surrounding law enforcement agencies to help with the surprise visit. “He’s a fighter and he can do this.”Weeks served with the Lynchburg Police Department from 1958 to 1992. “He’s been a great light to us, and he’s a great man," Eldredge said.
Lynchburg police announce findings of three officer-involved shooting investigations
LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Lynchburg Police Department has completed its internal investigation related to the officer-involved shootings that occurred in 2017 on Triangle Place and in 2018 on Norwood Street in Lynchburg and on Sunnymeade Road in Campbell County. On Nov. 5, 2017, Lynchburg police were called to 2919 Triangle Place for a woman who was having a psychotic episode and was suicidal. There were three officers involved in the incident, one of whom shot and killed Webber, according to police. On Dec. 20, 2018, officers responding to a report of a violent trespasser at a home on Norwood Street. On Oct. 6, 2018, police described a chaotic chase after one shooting and, later, a shootout between a suspect and police.
Police working to prevent gang activity, identify nearly 700 members in Lynchburg
LYNCHBURG, Va. - Lynchburg is also working to fight gang activity, numbers are showing gang participation is on the rise. Around this time last year we reported there were 630 identified gang members in Lynchburg. Lynchburg police tell 10 News as of right now they know of nearly 700 gang members. We had kids that used to be involved with gang activity thats no longer a part of that. 10 News contacted Bedford County Sheriff's Office, who couldnt share numbers with us, but said they aren't seeing the same problem as Roanoke or Lynchburg, but they have identified gang members who that live in the community.