Ferguson Swears in First Black Police Chief

By Kenrya Rankin May 10, 2016

In the latest effort to reform the Ferguson Police Department, the embattled Missouri city swore in Delrish Moss as the new chief of police yesterday (May 9). As NBC News reports, Moss is the first Black person to run the department.

Moss, 51, takes over the department as it works to implement the terms of its agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which requires a major overhaul of practices that were found to violate the civil rights of the city’s Black residents. The world learned about the St. Louis suburb when White officer Darren Wilson fatally shot unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown on August 9, 2014.

Moss comes from the Miami Police Department, where he served for 32 years. He replaces former chief Tom Jackson, who resigned in March 2015 after the DOJ released a report that detailed systematic racial bias in the department and the local court system.

Moss talked to The New York Times on Sunday (May 8) about his plans and the challenges he expects to face:

How do you diversify in a city that’s facing financial problems?
There won’t be a magic pill, when I suddenly go from this amount of African-Americans, this amount of women or this amount of whatever to this. But what I’ll be looking at is how we do things with attrition, and other things that naturally occur, that cause officers not to be in the department anymore. Some may leave because they may not like their new boss. Police officers are inherently resistant to change.

Besides diversification, do you have a list of things you know you want to do when you get there?
One of the things is, I want to increase the interaction—police with youth. I am not talking about negative interaction; I am talking positive interaction. I want to start a mentoring program. I want to start a Police Athletic League. I have been talking to the Do the Right Thing director here in Miami about Do the Right Thing [a youth program] coming to Ferguson. We’re going to do stuff like staff walks, so the staff gets out there and knocks on doors and talks to business owners and residents.