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Charlottesville hires firm to conduct police chief search

The city of Charlottesville has hired a Washington, D.C.-based executive search firm to recruit and hire its next police chief, who will be the seventh person to fill that post since 2016

According to a notice of award posted Wednesday, the city hired POLIHIRE Strategy Corporation to search for the chief, who will replace interim Chief Latroy ‘Tito’ Durrette. Durrette had replaced former Chief RaShall Brackney who served in the post for more than three years.

Brackney replaced interim Chief Thierry Dupuis, who replaced interim Chief Gary Pleasants who replaced Chief Al Thomas who resigned after a independent report criticized the police department’s handling of the August 2017 Unite the Right Rally.

Thomas replaced former Chief Timothy Longo in 2016. Longo now serves as chief of the University of Virginia Police Department and UVa’s associate vice president for safety and security.

The city posted a request for proposals May 20 announcing its search for an executive search firm.

According to the request, the city sought a consultant to assist the city manager through the process of hiring a new Chief of Police who embodies the principles of 21st century policing and has an anti-racist focus.

The consultant will act as the primary contact to the city manager to guide and advise them through the recruitment and selection process, as well as talk with people in the department and those outside of the department to help determine what characteristics and qualifications the community sees a ‘21st Century Anti-Racist Police Chief” to possess.

The consultant would then review and revise the job description, develop recruitment materials, conduct a comprehensive recruitment and be involved in the hiring process including interviews, screenings and contract negotiations. The request closed June 15.

POLIHIRE has experience head hunting municipal officials. The corporation was hired by Fairfax County to conduct the nationwide search for their police chief in 2021. According to Reston Now, part of POLIHIRE’s recruitment process included community surveys to collect public input on what the community wanted out of their police chief.

According to their website, POLIHIRE is currently managing the searches for the city managers of Cincinnati, Ohio and Rocky Mount, North Carolina; financial director for Baltimore; and county executive for Prince William County, among others.

City spokesman David Dillehunt said the base contract award is $35,000 plus an a la carte menu of additional services that the city may add.

Charlottesville has been without a permanent police chief since September, when then-City Manager Chip Boyles fired Brackney. Assistant Chief James Mooney, who was slated to serve as interim, retired and Durrette is currently serving as acting police chief.

Brackney announced last month she is suing the city, alleging discrimination on the basis of race, color and sex. The suit came six months after Brackney filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and sought a $3 million settlement. The city never responded to the complaint.


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