Charlottesville City Council has approved the selection of Michael Kochis to serve as the city’s next police chief. Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers made the announcement during last night’s City Council meeting after explaining the process.
The firm Polihire was hired to conduct the search and they identified five candidates. Three finalists appeared last week at a forum run by the Police Civilian Oversight Board and the process also included input from committees.
“Through that process and looking at the rating of the various committees of the various candidates it became clear that one candidate stood above the others,” Rogers said. “That candidate was Michael Kochis.”
Kochis is the current police chief in Warrenton. Rogers, an employee of the Robert Bobb Group with an extensive history on municipal government, said he contacted different organizations in the Fauquier County town to get references. These include both Black Lives Matter and the NAACP.
“It comes back glowing reports in terms of his approachability, his engagement and commitment to community, his steadfast approach to solving problems and building partnerships with the community,” Kochis said.
Before the vote, City Councilor Michael Payne remarked on the process that led to the decision.
“I would just acknowledge that the path to reform is going to take a lot of time and community engagement and trust is going to have to be earned and on Council, we’re going to have to support that effort long term and acknowledge where we have come up short,” Payne said.
Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook noted he had talked to his counterpart in Warrenton, a town with 2020 Census count of 10,147.
“He said, ‘basically we will be sorry to lose him but I want you to know how well respected he is,’’ Snook said. “They mentioned specifically the fact that one of his biggest supporters was the NAACP.”
Vice Mayor Juandiego Wade said he looked forward to new leadership. He took the time to thank the other two candidates.
“We had three excellent choices and that is a good thing right there and I imagine, Mr. Rogers, it was difficult for you to make that final determination,” Wade said.
Incoming Chief Kolchis appeared at the meeting via Zoom after Council voted to accept Rogers’ recommendation.
“I really do appreciate the faith and confidence of Council that you have placed in me to lead the Charlottesville Police Department and the men and women of that organization,” Kolchis said.
His start date is January 16. He held a press conference on December 6, 2022 and that audio is available on the Charlottesville Podcasting Network. There’s also a transcript!
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