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UPDATED: Henrico Police Chief Humberto Cardounel announces retirement

UPDATED: Henrico Police Chief Humberto Cardounel announces retirement

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Henrico Police Chief Humberto “Hum” Cardounel Jr. announced Monday that he will step down effective Sept. 1

Cardounel, who is of Cuban descent, became the county’s first Latino police chief when he was promoted to lead the department in 2016. He previously was a patrol officer, a SWAT team medic and the deputy chief of the investigative bureau.

“It is time for me to pass the torch onto the next generation of police leadership,” the 32-year police veteran stated in a release. “What this county has done for me over my career is immeasurable. I only hope that I have been able to give something back and that in some small way I have helped move us forward. “

His departure comes amid a wave of nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice. Local clashes between riot police and protesters led Richmond Police Chief Will Smith to resign last week at the request of Mayor Levar Stoney.

While there have been only a few protests in the county since the outbreak of demonstrations in the Richmond area over the last month, Supervisor Tyrone Nelson has asked county leaders to consider the creation of an independent civilian review board to oversee the police department. The Board of Supervisors is expected to review the proposal next month.

Cari Tretina, the county’s chief of staff, said County Manager John Vithoulkas did not ask Cardounel to resign or retire. A spokesperson for the Henrico Police declined an interview request with Cardounel following his announcement Monday.

“Hum has left an irreplaceable mark on Henrico and its Police Division, having served in nearly every facet of the agency’s work throughout his long, distinguished career,” Vithoulkas said in the news release. “Hum also has demonstrated what it means to serve with heart, and Henrico is stronger, safer and eternally grateful that he selected our community as his home.”

The release announcing his departure noted his decision came while Henrico offers enhanced retirement benefits as a cost-saving measure during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tretina said about 115 county employees have decided to retire under a new incentive program that’s intended to save the county money during the pandemic.

Retiring employees who are eligible for the program receive 10% of their annual base salary and $8 per hour for up to 2,000 of unused sick leave, Tretina said.

Cardounel’s annual salary for the 2019-2020 fiscal year is $166,400, according to county salary records. Tretina said his payout will total $32,640.

The county plans to conduct a national search to find a new police chief before Sept. 1.

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