Charlottesville selects new Police Chief: Michael Kochis
The current Warrenton Police Chief will start work January 16
During Monday’s City Council meeting Charlottesville’s interim City Manager Micheal Rogers chose Michael Kochis, current Warrenton Police Chief, as Charlottesville’s new Police Chief. City Council voted unanimously to approve.
According to recruitment materials, Charlottesville was seeking a "visionary, dynamic leader" with an understanding of "21st Century policing" to be its next Chief of Police. Someone with "impeccable" communication and listening skills and "exceptional knowledge" regarding media relations. A consensus builder. And someone with a "deep commitment" to forming strong relationships with the public.
After being prompted by Mayor Lloyd Snook to provide further details on received recommendations, Rogers said he spoke with church leaders, BLM activists, and the NAACP in Warrenton who all gave "glowing reports" about Kochis. Mayor Lloyd Snook added that he had received a letter from the Mayor of Warrenton who told him they were sorry to lose Kochis, adding that he was respected by the community and "the real deal."
However, according to a source, Debra Copeland, Chair, Communications Committee, NAACP Fauquier County Branch, says the endorsement of Kochis came from president Dr. Ellsworth Weaver personally, not from the organization.
Michael Kochis was featured in a June Washington Post story featuring the department's Guardian Score program. Officers in Warrenton hand out business cards with a QR code on the back during encounters with residents which allow people to provide feedback on the interaction with the officer. Kochis also formed a community group that recommends policy changes at the department, which resulted in the ban of chokeholds long before the Virginia General Assembly did. During the recent police chief candidate forum, Kochis stated that he saw policing "as a co-production with the community" and shared his belief that "women make better cops."
Ironically, former Police Chief Brackney, who was unceremoniously fired by outgoing interim City Manager Chip Boyles more than a year ago (prompting her to file a $10 million wrongful termination lawsuit against the City), and was present at the recent police candidate forum, told The DTM that policing as a co-production with the community is "a concept and term I have been advocating 4 for years along with Dr. Brian Williams (UVA)."
Kochis will begin as acting Police Chief on January 16, 2022.