Kochis sworn in as Charlottesville police chief

Michael Kochis has been on the job as Charlottesville’s Police Chief since Monday but his swearing in came yesterday at the tail end of a City Council work session. 

“Mayor and City Council, we’ve arrived at the time where we can welcome a new member to our family here in the city of Charlottesville, a new leader for the Charlottesville Police Department,” said interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers. 

Kochis was sworn in by Circuit Court Clerk Llezelle Dugger. You can hear that audio in the podcast version of this newsletter. 

Kochis is sworn in by Circuit Court Clerk Llezelle Dugger (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

After the brief ceremony, Councilors have brief remarks. Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook said he was intrigued by Kochis referring to the 21st Century Policing efforts during the administration of former President Barack Obama during his interview.

“The first pillar of 21st Century policing is to build trust and legitimacy and that’s what Charlottesville badly needs right now and everybody we’ve talked to says you’re the man to do that,” Snook said. 

Councilor Brian Pinkston said he felt that Kochis wanted to be part of the next chapter of Charlottesville’s story. Vice Mayor Juandiego Wade said he saw Kochis and his wife at Martin’s Hardware the other day.

“That’s Charlottesville right there so welcome aboard and I look forward to working with you,” Pinkston said. 

Rogers said that he was impressed that Kochis found a place to live here within a week of being hired. In his remarks, Kochis listed his day one strategy. 

“I need to learn, I need to listen, and to get an idea of what this community and what our officers expect in a chief of police,” Kochis said. 

Kochis said the first priority will be to build on community partnerships and address gun violence in the city. On his first day of work On Monday, there was a shots fired incident on Cherry Avenue and Hanover Street that was reported by the University of Virginia Police Department rather than the city. 

“We also need to understand that taking guns off of the street is incredibly dangerous and complex work and will require a collaborative approach between our community and officers and to do this we’re going to need to trust each other and that involves the community trust as well,” Kochis said. 

Kochis said the second priority is to recruit additional officers and the third is to treat officers better. 

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 January 18, 2023 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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