RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The number of police officers pulled from their positions for dishonesty or excessive force is growing in Virginia. According to the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services’ master list, 146 officers have been decertified as of mid-January. Meaning, they’re currently not allowed to serve as law enforcement officers in the Commonwealth.
8News first looked at the Virginia master list of decertified officers back in July. Since then, 46 new officers were added. More than half of the 146 officers decertified were added to the list in just the past two years. The department began keeping a list in 1999.
The increase in decertification follows a push for policing reforms in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, as well as a new law expanding the offenses for decertification to include excessive force and lying.
“We need to make sure only the best are serving,” said Chesterfield Police Chief Colonel Jeffrey Katz.
Katz placed four officers on the decertification list in 2021 and has confirmed they are no longer with the department.
“I would say that our list of four people that we have submitted is a representative example of us policing ourselves,” Katz said.
Katz spoke publicly last year about former officer Brandon Hyde, who was fired after an internal investigation revealed he solicited inappropriate photos from a 17-year-old girl.
Katz spoke about the incident, saying, “This is a tough day for our community and for our department. not because we arrested a former officer, but because we recognize that Mr. Hyde tarnished a badge that we wear proudly.”
Among the other three Chesterfield cops decertified, two had their policing certification revoked for untruthful statements.
- More police officers banned from law enforcement in Virginia
- Chesterfield Police arrest, fire officer for soliciting photos from 17-year-old
- Richmond Police officer on leave following animal cruelty charge
“When somebody’s conduct indicates that they shouldn’t be held in a position of public trust, we have an obligation to police them out of our profession,” Katz said.
Also recently decertified last year was Hanover Sheriffs’ Deputy C. Ryan Payne, who was named officer of the year multiple times. When asked for details on the decertification, a spokesman for the Hanover Sheriff’s Office told 8News that he “can’t speak to the specifics on the internal investigation.”
Public records list Payne’s decertification was for reporting inaccuracies. Hanover County confirmed that he no longer works for the department.
Richmond Police Officer Richard Chinappi III was decertified in January. He recently pled no contest to felony animal cruelty charges after fatally shooting his fiancée’s dog and then lying about it to police.
In a statement Richmond Police said:
“Officer Richard Chinappi III was hired by the Richmond Police Department on October 31, 2016, and has been assigned to a precinct as a patrol officer during his employment. Chinappi has been placed on administrative leave. He remains on administrative leave as the criminal process continues. Once concluded, the department will continue with our internal administrative process.”
Each department seems to handle decertification and employment differently. For that reason. Chinappi and others on the list have yet to have their due process. Officers do have a right to appeal the decertification decision, and possibly get their certification back. These factors cause some officers to have to wait in a type of limbo period while their name is made public.
The Criminal Justice Services Board could also find the police agency got it wrong, and the officer could go back to policing. For that reason, some say there are issues that still need to be worked out with the new laws surrounding the decertification process.
Law enforcement said it did not have a seat at the table when the legislation was considered.
Katz commented on the new legislation processes, saying, “They may have been well-intentioned, but they were not thought out well.”