Presentation on theme: "Citizen Requests and Problem Solving City of Richmond - RVA."— Presentation transcript:
Citizen Requests and Problem Solving City of Richmond - RVA
Introduction This presentation is designed to give citizens a brief overview on how to solve problems in the City of Richmond. This presentation should assist citizens in solving simple defects and get them started in handling larger on-going issues. This tutorial is for very basic information purposes and can not cover all of the in-depth procedures or legalities. Hopefully this will provide a bit of structure and information to get you started.
Problem Management Isolate and define the problem you are trying to solve. Figure out if this can be addressed as one problem or separated into several problems. Determine if a violation does exist and if there is a solution. The location of a problem can determine which agency will handle it. Make sure you define if it is a public or private issue. Exact locations or identifiers are necessary such as addresses, intersection, trail markers, pole numbers, etc. Documentation- use a notebook or a simple system to track problems, keep it close by to make quick notes when actions are taken. When tracking on- going problems, document in such a manner that you could use the notes to testify in court. Persistence- work on problems until they are solved. Set reminders so you will follow up on an issue. If a problem does not get resolved move to the next level until you are satisfied.
City Interaction The City of Richmond has many tools and capabilities to assist you in problem solving. There are numerous ways to access the system and start working on problems. Proactive City Response- many city agencies are proactive and may already be aware of a problem. Some problems may currently be scheduled to be fixed or solved. Double check, you may be able to provide information to speed up the process. The City may be unaware of an issue so you can begin the complaint process. The City is broken down into numerous Departments. Each Department is tasked with handling certain duties to make sure the City runs correctly. Departments are further broken down into specific sections to best handle issues. These sections may be set up by location or work type. There are numerous ways to file complaints or requests with the City. Technology has increased the ways to communicate and document progress, is very useful for tracking history.
City Resources 311- calling will allow you to speak with the Citizen Care Center. Operators there can provide information and file complaints, make sure you write a Ticket # in your file. Police Non-Emergency Number: #1 Police Information Desk: The City of Richmond website provides a good overview of all the resources and Departments. MPACT is a program that provides community and government interaction to solve problems and improve the city. Part of this program also provides priority handling of some citizen requests through Click Fix. There is also a Smart Phone Application that can be downloaded. MPACTMPACT The Citizen Request program offers numerous additional requests that can be electronically filed with the city. An account must be created.Citizen Request The Employee Directory is a good resource to use when trying to research or have questions answered quickly. Employee DirectoryEmployee Directory A quick review of the City Ordinance will usually answer most of the questions you have when trying to isolate a problem. The City Code is online and by using the search feature you can find relevant information quickly. City CodeCity Code
MPACT – Click Fix
311 and Phone Apps
Legalities Civil and Criminal- the 2 basic categories for legal violations. State Code and City Ordinance- there are 2 sets of laws binding our community together. Sometimes they are the same and other times one will cover a violation the other will not address. Police do not handle civil violations and generally can only give basic advice on civil procedures. 3 Categories for criminal violations- Infractions, Misdemeanors, and Felonies Infractions are violations police can enforce that will not result in jail time. Misdemeanors are violations that will not result in more than one year of jail time. Felonies are violations that carry a penalty of more than one year in jail. Civil issues are usually handled by citizens and may require the assistance of a lawyer.
City Response Each Department in the City has its own response procedures and handle complaints differently. Departments use different forms and document things differently. If forms are required, for notifications or legal reasons, they should be requested from that Department. During certain times Department services may be suspended or might be dealing with a very high level of requests. There may be a delay in response to your complaint. When Police are called through dispatch and respond to a complaint a call log is generated. Each incident / investigation must be handled on a case by case basis. Some complaints such as criminal violations may generate a police report. When a criminal arrest is made a police report is filed. Officers have discretion when investigating a violation and must consider procedures and legalities before making an arrest. Police cannot make an arrest on infractions or misdemeanors they did not witness.
Obtaining Criminal Warrants Some problems can only be resolved by going to court. Any citizen at any time can petition the Magistrate for an arrest warrant. There are requirements that must be met first. The Magistrates Office is located at 200 W. Grace St. in Police HQ on the first floor. You will need a valid ID and identifying information for the person in violation. You will need a police report number. To get the necessary information on an unknown person to swear out warrants, you must call the Police, 911 for emergencies or for non-emergency, and advise them you want to press charges. Police will first investigate and then generate a report if applicable. You will then take the report number and the identifying information to the Magistrates Office. The Magistrate will listen to your testimony and if probable cause is found the Magistrate will issue a warrant against the person. Once the warrant is on file the Police can then arrest the individual. The defendant will have an arraignment and court date will be set. A subpoena will then be sent to you.
City Limitations The City of Richmond will try and assist with complaints and requests. Most issues brought forward already have a procedure for handling them. Some can be very easily handled and solved in a day or two. Other issues may take considerably longer depending on the scope of the request or the level of difficulty in solving, advice in handling on-going problems will follow. The City has limitations that can affect all requests. Budgeting for improvements Staffing of workforce Preplanned projects that would overlap your request Requests requiring multiple Departments interacting Legal requirements Procedural requirements Lacking of interface for non-routine request It is important to stay in contact with the employee handling your request until it is solved.
Public Property Defects Public defects are any issues that are the responsibility of the City to correct through ownership, enforcement, jurisdiction, or procedure. Some examples of these defects can be potholes, missing signs, city lights out, illegal business, graffiti removal requests, dead city trees, debris, etc. These are generally simple routinely requested fixes as long as the scope of the request is not to broad. Monitor the problem and if it is not fixed in a timely manner follow-up with a personal inquiry to the correct department or call 311. Most all Public Defects can be addressed through 311, MPACT, or CRS.
Private Property Defects When filing a complaint on basic physical maintenance issues on a private property, state or city regulations may be used. Some of these issues can be high grass, peeling paint, trash, abandoned vehicles, etc. Property Inspectors handle these complaints and must follow State guidelines when solving violations. State law requires property owners be given 48 hours notice to correct violations. This notice is given by a Uniform Notice of Violation (UNOV). This is a required civil notice and after 48 hours criminal charges can be obtained for violations. More time is generally given to cooperating property owners. Sometimes property owners cannot be located and the property must be posted or certified letters must be sent before the process begins. If a property goes to Court it may be weeks before the violation is corrected. Completely abandoned property can be forced into maintenance by the City and a tax lien placed on the property. There are numerous agencies, other than Police, that enforce laws in the City of Richmond.
On-Going Problems If after reviewing this presentation you do not think the problem you are trying to solve can be addressed by any of the above information, then you most likely have an on-going problem. On-going problems will most likely require interaction with the necessary city agencies involved. Documentation and specific information will greatly increase the ability of city agencies in handling your request, especially for criminal violations or large scope requests. Keep specific notes that can be given to the necessary agency. The more specific the dates and times provided the more likely manpower can be assigned, especially for criminal violations. When handling neighbor disputes, complaints will be reviewed for any criminal or code violations. The secondary step in a dispute is to re-establish communication and mediate an agreement. If a satisfactory outcome cannot be reached by both parties then it is recommended that tolerance or non-interaction is implemented. If this does not solve the problem than involved parties are advised to handle the matter in civil court.
Thank You for taking the time to improve the City of Richmond. Your patience and persistence is appreciated. Let me know what you need. Ofc. W. H. KuperOfc. W. H. Kuper - 3 rd Precinct