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Questions remain after firing of Portsmouth Police chief

Renado Prince.PNG
Posted at 1:17 PM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 23:37:40-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Questions remain over the firing of Portsmouth Police Chief Renado Prince.

On Tuesday, the city manager's office announced Prince had left the police department, which was announced with "regret."

City Councilmember Lisa Lucas-Burke told News 3 Prince was fired. Burke said she was told the firing was the result of a "breach of trust."

On Wednesday, News 3 reached out to City Manager Tonya Chapman for clarification. A spokesman said he would check to see if Chapman was available for an interview, but said he did not believe Chapman can comment on specifics.

The firing is the latest in a period of turmoil in the city. Four members of the city council voted to fire then-City Manager Angel Jones in May. Then, the same four appointed Chapman to the position, which she just started last week.

"It's very disheartening to see him be fired not even a week into [Chapman starting her job]," said community activist Barry Randall. "It's sad because I believe if Portsmouth didn't exist, the news media wouldn't have anything to report on and I'm just hopeful we can turn that around."

Randall is hosting a town hall on Thursday at 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church Taylorsville off of Turnpike Road. Chief Prince was scheduled to attend, but Randall says the event will still go on and will include Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares as well as other community members.

"Something is just not right. We've had help from the State Police, and there's still an uptick in crime. We're the smallest of the seven cities, and yet it seems like crime is unmanageable in this city," said Randall.

News 3 reached out to Prince on Wednesday, but did not hear back.

Assistant Chief Stephen Jenkins has been named interim police chief.

Chapman released the following statement Wednesday night:

As the City Manager of Portsmouth, like any other leadership position, you must be able to make difficult and unpopular decisions. Whenever I am considering terminating an employee, I do not take this decision lightly. I hired Mr. Prince when I was the Chief of the Portsmouth Police Department.

I realize that you may have many questions, but this is a City of Portsmouth personnel matter, and I cannot comment about the reason or any details due to privacy rights.

Public safety is going to be a top priority. Interim Chief Stephen Jenkins, upon assuming the role, will be reviewing and recommending additions or changes to our Crime Prevention & Violence Reduction plan. I look forward to getting the input of the citizens as we continue to discuss crime and violence prevention.
Portsmouth City Manager Tonya Chapman

Chapman will host a press conference on Thursday, July 14.

Stay with News 3 for updates on this developing story.