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Richmond Police Chief Al Durham reflects on first year

February 22, 2016 | Virginia News

It’s an unlikely friendship: The police chief and the ex-con.

Nonetheless, Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham, who celebrated one year on the job Sunday, has taken 26-year-old David Baldwin under his wing.

Baldwin, originally from Newport News, served 7½ years in prison for armed robbery. Upon his release in December, Baldwin, with the permission of his probation officer, moved to Richmond for a fresh start.

The pair crossed paths last month at a Martin Luther King Jr. event where Baldwin told the crowd his story and that he was looking to stay on the right path.

“I was so moved,” said Durham, 52. “I wanted to help him out.”

Baldwin said Durham calls or texts him daily. The police chief got him a job cutting grass for the city and took him shopping for a pair of steel-toed boots that Baldwin needed for the job. Baldwin also works at McDonald’s.

“Last week, he took me to get my learner’s permit,” Baldwin said.

But most of the time, the men “just chill,” Baldwin said.

“We just hang and chill, like anyone else would hang out,” he said. “I never thought, coming from where I came from, that I’d be friends with the chief.

“People in power, sometimes they have a big head, but he’s humble. It’s like I’ve never caught a conviction,” Baldwin said.

“He says everyone is human — the officers under him are human. He’s showed me they’re not all out to get me.” ...

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