Charlottesville Police Chief candidates introduce themselves at forum

On Monday, three finalists for the position of Charlottesville Police Chief appeared at a forum at the Carver Recreation Center that was an event of the Police Civilian Oversight Board.

“The PCOB, though a new element in our government, is an an important component in assuring there is transparency and accountability in the execution of police services in our community,” said Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers. 

The candidates are: 

  • Latroy A. “Tito” Durrette, acting Charlottesville Police Chief (view resume)
  • Michael Kochis, Chief of Police in the Town of Warrenton (view resume)
  • Easton L. McDonald, Major-Division Commander, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department (view resume)
Latroy A. “Tito” Durrette, Michael Kochis, Easton L. McDonald

Rogers said the questions for the two hour event came from the public.  The event was moderated by PCOB Chair William Mendes.

“We have reviewed a substantial amount of questions and selected a number of them intended to cover as wide a range of subjects of concern to the community as possible,” Mendez said. 

But before that, the candidates had the chance to introduce themselves. The following are selected quotes. You can watch the whole event on the city’s website

Tito Durrette went first. 

“I chose to do this career thirty years ago,” Durette said. “I started off in high school because a police officer took a special interest in me and changed who I was as an individual.” 

Durrette explained his early days in the Charlottesville Police Department, where he has been for his entire career. He moved to Charlottesville when he was 15 and he calls the city home.

“And the reason why I am doing this is because I care,” Durrette said. “I care about this community, I care about the interactions that we are having with our community and trying to go through a healing process for this community because we all have had trauma and I want to be a part of that healing process. I want to be part of moving our department forward.” 

Then Major McDonald had his introduction. He said he was encouraged to see so many people attending the forum.

“I have spent 25 years in law enforcement from the very beginning in juvenile detention, corrections, and in patrol with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. What attracts me to Charlottesville is what Charlottesville was advertising. You were advertising for 21st century policing. A community engagement. Someone that was going to listen to the community, work with the community and at the same time arrange for training and education within the department and be supportive of that.” 

Warrenton Police Chief Michael Kochis went last and also noted the attendance at the forum. He said he is a native of New Jersey that has been in Virginia for a while. 

“I spent most of my career with the Alexandria Police Department and in 2020 I was appointed Chief of Police for the Warrenton Police Department,” Kochis said. “That was February 2020. A month later the pandemic hit. We had to kind of figure things out. And then shortly after that was the murder of George Floyd. And what I saw after that time was a turning point for this profession. We realized that engaging our community wasn’t good enough anymore and that we really needed to start involving the community in what we do. And we’ve done just that in the town of Warrenton.”

Learn more about Kochis in this article by James Jarvis on Fauquier Now when his position as a finalist in Charlottesville was known. 

The podcast version of the newsletter contains a longer series of answers. In the podcast, there are questions on the Marcus Alert system, community policing, and building trust with the community. There are plenty more questions in the two-hour event and this is a reminder you can see the whole thing on the city’s website

Next step? As we learn from Eleanor Jenkins in the Cavalier Dailya finalist will be announced next week

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the November 30, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

One comment

  • Pingback: Week Ahead for December 5, 2022: New Police chief to be selected; Big budget discussions in Albemarle and Charlottesville; Fluvanna to hire an actual county attorney via /r/Charlottesville – THE WORLD OF SPACE

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