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Updated: Charlottesville City Manager Formally Recommending New Police Chief

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Maurice Jones welcomes RaShall M. Brackney Maurice Jones welcomes RaShall M. Brackney
RaShall M. Brackney speaking to the media inside Council Chambers RaShall M. Brackney speaking to the media inside Council Chambers
(Left to right) Kathy Galvin, Mike Signer, Nikuyah Walker, Heather Hill, Maurice Jones, Wes Bellamy, RaShall M. Brackney (Left to right) Kathy Galvin, Mike Signer, Nikuyah Walker, Heather Hill, Maurice Jones, Wes Bellamy, RaShall M. Brackney
Jeffrey E. Fogel holding up a sign during an event for RaShall Brackney Jeffrey E. Fogel holding up a sign during an event for RaShall Brackney
Jeffrey E. Fogel Jeffrey E. Fogel
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Charlottesville is moving forward with plans to hire the city's first black, female police chief.

City Council and City Manager Maurice Jones gathered at City Hall Tuesday, May 15, to introduce 55-year-old RaShall M. Brackney to the community.

Brackney was the top choice out of 169 applicants to be chief of the Charlottesville Police Department (CPD). She says it's an honor to be recommended and she's ready to get to work.

Jones publicly announced his recommendation of Brackney to serve as the chief of police during Tuesday’s event.

"Chief Brackney is very mindful of the expectations of modern police departments, and I'm confident she will work diligently to ensure that the men and women of the Charlottesville Police Department continue to live up to those high standards," said Jones.

Brackney served as the police chief at George Washington University for about 2 years. She is also a 30-year veteran of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

"I believe law enforcement is at a crossroads right now about how we police and how we engage the community," Brackney said.

Recommending Brackney to lead the department doesn't come without controversy: She has faced corruption allegations during her time in Pittsburgh involving a cigar shop owner.

"Read to the very last page and you can see that I'm extremely transparent that any accusation that has ever been made against me has been fully vetted and exonerated," Brackney said.

Councilors say they are aware of Brackney’s past, and are moving forward with her.

"I was a bit concerned about who - someone sane - who would want to come to Charlottesville after what we've experience? Not just this summer, but long term," Mayor Nikuyah Walker said.

The recommended police chief says she will begin a “triage process” to get up-to-speed: Brackney plans to first get to know the officers and the community. Then, she will work on plans to deal with whatever may happen on August 11 and 12th, the anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right rally.

"There are always these large events that are always occurring in the city [Pittsburgh], as well as the opportunity that Charlottesville presents. It is smaller, but it really has big city heart. Big city mind and big city vision,"Brackney said.

"Our community is going to have to be patient with Dr. Brackney. This is not an overnight fix," said City Councilor Wes Bellamy.

In a social media post, Bellamy said the city didn't hire Brackney because she's a black woman, adding it's "because she's a trendsetter, is an innovator, and is a leader who we believe will take us to new heights."

Charlottesville-based defense attorney Jeffrey E. Fogel was at Tuesday’s event inside Council Chambers. At times he held up signs in protest of CPD’s actions and policies.

Fogel wants to know specifics about what Brackney will do to mend community relations: Specifically, he is worried the incoming chief doesn't know about stop-and-frisk issues and an excessive arrest of minorities in the community.

"We've got all kinds of problems. The question is does she know that? Is she prepared to deal with that? I hope she knows it, and she looks like the kind of person who is prepared to deal with it, so that's what's got me partly excited," said the defense attorney.

Brackney believes she has what it takes to bridge the community divide: “I think Charlottesville is uniquely positioned to start that conversation and reshape the narrative for the nation," she said.

CPD Interim Chief Thierry Dupuis left his position Friday, May 11. He had been serving the city since January 2 following the abrupt retirement of former-Chief Al Thomas.

Fogel took issue with the city not informing the community about Dupuis’ sudden departure.

Brackney is expected to start on June 18, after an official vote from the Charlottesville City Council on Monday, May 21.

In the meantime, the city says command staff will jointly manage the police department in coordination with the city manager's office.


05/15/2018 Release from the City of Charlottesville:

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - City Manager Maurice Jones is pleased to announce today his recommendation for the City's next Chief of Police, RaShall M. Brackney, Ph.D. of Arlington, Virginia.

The City Council will formally consider Chief Brackney's appointment at its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, May 21, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers. Chief Brackney will succeed Thierry Dupuis who served as Charlottesville’s interim Police Chief during January-May, 2018.

Chief Brackney is a retired 30-year veteran of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the former Chief of Police of the George Washington University. During her tenure as a law enforcement professional, she has been responsible for overseeing critical operations to include Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, CALEA accreditation, Special Deployment Operations including SWAT, Mounted Patrol, Accident Investigation, Hostage Negotiations, River Rescue, Special Events, Traffic Division, Tow Pound and the “Bomb” Squad, the training Academy, Patrol Operations and Major Crimes.

“Chief Brackney will bring over three decades of law enforcement experience to our police department,” said Mr. Jones. “During her time in Pittsburgh she was deeply committed to building strong relationships between the residents and the police officers who serve and protect them. Chief Brackney is very mindful of the expectations of modern police departments and I’m confident she will work diligently to ensure the men and women of the Charlottesville Police Department continue to live up to those high standards.”

“I am extremely honored to be recommended as the next Chief of Police for the City of Charlottesville,” said Brackney. “I believe the Charlottesville Police Department is uniquely positioned to contribute to the national narrative for policing and social justice, and I look forward to serving the community with both compassion and integrity.”

Chief Brackney has continued to serve her communities and is an Executive Board member for the Homewood Children’s Village (HCV). Additionally, she has served on Executive and Leadership Boards for Operation Better Block (OBB), The Heinz Endowments: African-American Men and Boys Initiative, Amachi Pittsburgh, A Giving Heart, Manchester Academic Charter School and the Alliance for Police Accountability.

Chief Brackney earned BS (2009) and Masters (2011) degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Ph.D. (2017) from Robert Morris University. Additionally, she has earned numerous professional certificates from Penn State University, The University of Delaware, The Command Institute for Police Executives and the Police Executive Research Forum. Chief Brackney is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia; the United States Secret Service Dignitary Protection course in Washington, D.C.; Redstone Arsenal “Bomb School” for managers in Huntsville, Alabama; and, Leadership Pittsburgh XIX.

Awards received by Chief Brackney include:

  • 50 Women of Excellence Award, New Pittsburgh Courier, 2014
  • Community Peace Keeper of the Year Award, Northside Coalition for Fair Housing, 2014
  • Community Police Officer of the Year Award, Alliance for Police Accountability, 2013
  • Otto Davis Award for Social & Racial Justice, Carnegie Mellon University, 2011

Chief Brackney will begin work with the City of Charlottesville on June 18, 2018.

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