RPD Mourns the Loss of Former Police Chief - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

RPD Mourns the Loss of Former Police Chief

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The Reno Police Department is remembering Robert Bradshaw as a man of great character and conviction, who insisted on accountability and professionalism.  The former Chief of Police died Thursday night. He was 79.

"He was also known as a very fair man but you didn't want to cross him because he certainly did believe in accountability," Chief Jason Soto, Reno Police Department said.

"He would hold you accountable but he still had that personal side of him that he would let you know that you were probably trying to do the right thing but there was a level of accountability that needed to be held," Steve Pitts, Former RPD Police Chief said.

Bradshaw was one of Reno's longest-serving chiefs.  From 1981 to 1991, he brought new philosophies to the police department.  He was a major proponent of Community Oriented Policing, getting the community involved to prevent crime, not just enforce laws.

"It's really integrated us with our community and it's brought so much outreach and so much interaction and it's lowered crime," Soto said. "It's made our community a safer place."

"The Reno Police Department became very well-known, not just nationally but internationally for our community policing efforts here, and then also sharing those efforts with other law enforcement agencies in the U.S.," Pitts said.

Pitts says RPD was a traditional police department in the 1980s. That is when Bradshaw implemented new ideas that brought innovation and technology to the agency.  While he started these programs, he also helped keep them going when other Chiefs like Dick Kirkland and Pitts took over.

"I like him and I respected him," Kirkland said. "The changes I brought when he left were changes that he was in the middle of instituting."

"I'll miss him," Pitts said. "He was a mentor to me when I was blessed enough to take over the organization as the interim and the Chief of Police. He wanted to make sure that anything I needed, I could lean on him, and I did."

Pitts says RPD grew under Bradshaw's leadership, developing specialized units to a police force that only had a Patrol and Detective Division at the time.  Bradshaw developed Reno's three districts, the North, Central and South.  He also created Neighborhood Advisory Groups to allow the community to communicate directly with police officers.  That has evolved into Neighborhood Advisory Boards, where they can also talk to the local government.  He created annual community satisfaction surveys in 1987 to get an idea of what people think about the police department.  These programs are still being used today.

"I think that man probably had more of an impact on this agency than anybody that's ever put on the blue uniform," Soto said.

Reno Police Officers are wearing mourning bands on their badges until Bradshaw is laid to rest, honoring the man and the legacy he leaves behind.

"He was an outstanding man, he was a good man, he was a good-hearted man and he tried to do his best to bring institutional change to the PD," Kirkland said.

Bradshaw came to Reno after serving as Assistant Police Chief of the San Jose Police Department.  After he left the Reno Police Department, he worked for the Nevada Highway Patrol and became the Chief of the Concord Police Department in California.

Public service runs in the Bradshaw family.  His daughter, Kim Bradshaw, retired from the Reno Police Department after a career as an officer, detective and sergeant.

To read RPD's press release, click here.

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