Ferguson Names Andre Anderson as Interim Police Chief

23 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ferguson Hires Another Interim Police Chief.

Ferguson, Mo., officials have tapped a veteran Arizona police executive to run their embattled Police Department, nearly a year after the shooting death of unarmed black man Michael Brown sparked riots, a federal investigation and led to the resignation of several key city officials.

The racially troubled city of Ferguson, Mo., has named a black commander of the Glendale, Ariz., police department as its new interim police chief, city officials announced Wednesday. Anderson previously was police commander in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, Arizona — the same city from which Ferguson recently hired its interim city manager, Ed Beasley. His duties in Ferguson begin Thursday, and he made it clear he’s interested in becoming the city’s permanent chief. “I’m hoping that I’m a candidate for the full-time position,” Anderson said, but insisted his focus now is on building trust between police and the people of Ferguson. His resignation came days after a Department of Justice report cited racial bias and profiling in Ferguson policing and a profit-driven municipal court system that frequently targeted black residents. In 2013, Anderson was a finalist for the police chief’s job in Casa Grande, Ariz., according to The Dispatch. “There’s a lot of work to be done,” Anderson said during an introductory press conference Wednesday morning. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work, and I appreciate this opportunity.” Brown’s Aug. 9 slaying set off months of protests and anger that percolated into the ongoing “Black Lives Matter” movement, which has taken aim at police agencies around the country for the high incidence of blacks killed at the hands of law enforcement.

Anderson can make recommendations to the Police Department that will be innovative and will have long-standing improvements for our citizens and to the entire community.” Anderson will replace Lt. Knowles said it was not easy to find someone to lead the department, which has been under national scrutiny since the fatal police shooting last August of an unarmed black teenager.

The announcement comes just ahead of the anniversary of the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by white officer Darren Wilson, which set off sometimes violent protests in the St Louis suburb and nationwide calls for police reform. Anderson’s duties with the Glendale Police Department have included leading community policing initiatives, leading the Criminal Investigations Division, supervising detectives from homicide, fraud and computer forensics, family violence as well as other undercover operations and joint task force agents assigned to the DEA, FBI and U.S. It also found that the city was using the police to write tickets, often aimed at black residents, to fund municipal budgets. “He is extremely well-qualified,” Ferguson Mayor James Knowles told Reuters of Anderson. “He will bring us a fresh perspective coming from outside the St. Ferguson’s former police chief, Thomas Jackson, stepped down March 19 in the wake of a Justice Department report documenting bias against minorities by the city’s law enforcement and court system.

Ferguson officials were heavily criticized for their response to violent protests that followed Brown’s death and a grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson in the shooting. The probe also uncovered several racially tinged emails from city employees who seemed to revel in using the city’s black residents as a revenue stream. Among his priorities, Anderson said he wants to help attract and hire qualified applicants for police jobs, filling positions “that reflect the demographics of the community.” Beasley said Anderson is “exceptionally known nationally for his ability to lead and his innovation,” referring to Anderson’s expertise in community policing and outreach.

The Justice Department also declined to prosecute Wilson, announcing that decision at the same time it released the March report critical of police and court practices. He’s kind of been there and wants to take up and defend his force that he’s been a part of,” she said. “So I think some new blood, some new eyes, some new ears, some new ideas, is what’s needed.” Incoming chief Anderson has served in law enforcement for more than 20 years, according to Wednesday’s statement.

Anderson graduated from the FBI’s National Academy and holds a master’s degree in education and leadership from Northern Arizona University, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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