Delrish Moss Becomes First Black Police Chief in Ferguson

Miami Police Maj. Delrish Moss, new chief of the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department.
Miami Police Maj. Delrish Moss, new chief of the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department.City of Ferguson, Missouri

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By Lauren Victoria Burke

Veteran Florida cop Maj. Delrish Moss was sworn in as new Chief of Police in Ferguson, Missouri on Monday. He will be the first African American to lead the department.

Moss spent most of his career in the Miami Police Department where he was a public service aid, homicide detective, and served 20 of his 32 years on the force as a public information officer. In 2005, Moss handled the aftermath for the department after Miami-Dade County Commissioner Art Teele was convicted on corruption charges and committed suicide at the Miami Herald Building.

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After the 2014 shooting death of teenager Michael Brown at the hands of former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, the issue of police brutality attracted headlines all over the U.S. and the world.

Moss, will replace former Chief of Police Tom Jackson. Jackson resigned on March 11, 2015, right after the Department of Justice released a scorching 102-page report on the Ferguson Police Department that detailed rampant systematic racial bias and Constitutional violations undertaken by members the department and the city's judicial system. Jackson received $96,000 in severance pay upon his departure.

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Moss, who is 51, will be Ferguson's first African American police chief in the city's history. The city and the surrounding areas are predominantly African American. Moss says he plans to focus on diversity in the ranks of the 54-member police force by recruiting more minority candidates and more women.

Moss moved up through the ranks in Miami as a community relations and communications specialist at the department. He was selected for the job from a pool of 54 candidates after a nationwide search.

In an interview with the New York Times, Moss also said he wants to heighten the level of interaction between law enforcement and the community. The community policing model has long been suggested as a way to personalize the relationships between police and the communities they serve in an effort to make the relationship into more of a partnership rather than adversarial.

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