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Charlottesville poised to hire first black police chief

May 1, 2016 | Virginia News

News Image In a news release Tuesday, City Manager Maurice Jones announced his recommendation of Col. Alfred S. Thomas Jr. for the city’s next police chief. Currently chief of the Lexington Police Department, Thomas will be Charlottesville’s first black police chief.

While the City Council will formally consider Thomas’ appointment during a regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, statements councilors made Tuesday indicate that Thomas’ appointment is a done deal. Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer said on Twitter that he was “truly excited that Chief Al Thomas … is coming on board” as the city’s new police chief, although he did not formally comment when asked Tuesday.

City Councilor Wes Bellamy said he was “beyond excited” at the selection.

“People are saying we aren’t changing the narrative, but this is living proof,” Bellamy said, referencing Thomas’s status as the city’s first black police chief. “The city isn’t the same as it was before. We are making great strides.”

Thomas, who has served as the chief of the Lexington Police Department since 2010, will be replacing Chief Timothy J. Longo, who will retire May 1 after 15 years. ...

“Chief Thomas was an excellent candidate who rose to the top of a very deep applicant pool,” Jones said in the release. “He has the experience, the interpersonal skills and leadership abilities we were searching for in our next chief. I am confident Chief Thomas and the dedicated men and women in our department will build upon the great work of his predecessor.”

Prior to his time in Lexington, Thomas spent 20 years with the Lynchburg Police Department. From 1985 until 1990, he served in the United States Air Force, attaining the rank of staff sergeant.

“I am truly honored to join one of the finest police departments in the commonwealth,” Thomas said. “I look forward to serving the citizens of Charlottesville and building upon the long-standing history of providing exceptional services to the community.” ...

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