Charlottesville appoints Hansel Aguilar as executive director of Police CRB

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 11:38 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Hansel Aguilar has been named the first executive director of Charlottesville’s Police Civilian Review Board.

City Manager Chip Boyles made the announcement Monday, September 13.

“Mr. Aguilar brings to the city a wealth of experience in the field of criminal justice including service as a law enforcement officer in Northern Virginia, as a police misconduct investigator in Washington, D.C. and as an inaugural member of the Civilian Review Panel in Fairfax County,” Boyles said in Monday’s announcement.

According to the city, Aguilar holds a B.A. in criminal justice and sociology from Rutgers University and a Master of sociology from George Mason University.

The hiring comes as Charlottesville works through public turmoil surrounding policing and police oversight. The city is optimistic this latest move can help.

“I didn’t have any big shoes to fill, just big goals,” said Ashley Marshall, the deputy city manager for racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. Aguilar was the Office of Equity’s first hire under Marshall.

While Aguilar does not have a predecessor, he steps into an important role. PCRB Chair Bellamy Brown just survived a vote of no confidence last week, and the board recently passed a new ordinance describing its powers.

“He will bring that background knowledge of how to continue to build a police civilian review board on top of his other credentials, which includes being an investigator for policing in DC,” Marshall said.

The PCRB still needs to wait for city council to approve operating procedures before it knows exactly what capabilities it has. As the connector between oversight and citizens, Aguilar comes in with high expectations.

“It’s rather nice, in my opinion, that there is this neutral party whose job is to make sure everything goes smoothly, to be able to be a sounding board for individuals who need it, and also to be able to be an independent entity that maybe can make a suggestion based on their knowledge and experience,” Marshall said.

Aguilar is scheduled to start his service in Charlottesville on September 27. The PCRB’s next meeting is on October 14.

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