Ferguson swears in the city’s first black police chief

Delrish Moss took the reins of the embattled department on Monday.

Justin Carissimo
Monday 09 May 2016 17:34
Delrish Moss hopes to bring about changes to the highly criticized Ferguson Police Department.
Delrish Moss hopes to bring about changes to the highly criticized Ferguson Police Department.

Delrish Moss, a veteran Miami police officer, was sworn in as Ferguson’s first black police chief on Monday afternoon.

Beating over 50 applicants, the 51-year-old Moss will choose Ferguson over retirment and replace his predecessor Tom Jackson, nearly one year after the Justice Department released its six-month investigation into the city's police department. The report found that the city's police force routinely violated the constitutional rights of African-American residents.

He's now tasked with rebuilding the embattled police department.

“The department now has very few females in sworn positions,” Moss told the New York Times. “There’s, I think, a total of 54 police officers, and I think three or four African-Americans.”

Moss also hopes to start a mentoring program and police athletic league. He's also been speaking with Spike Lee about beginning a new youth program titled Do the Right Thing.

Delrish Moss is sworn by Judge Donald McCullin at the Ferguson Community Center. David Carson/St Louis Post-Dispatch/Associated Press

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.“

The 32-year-old veteran, who spent 20 of his years in Miami as a public information officer, said he hopes to instill trust in the city, and diversify his department. And Moss will most certainly have his hands full.

In February, the city received a federal lawsuit after the Ferguson City Council voted to change the agreed settlement to reform both the police force and court system.

“These violations were not only egregious, they were routine,” Attorney General Lynch said in February. “They were encouraged by the city in the interest of raising revenue. They were driven at least in part by racial bias, and they occurred disproportionately against African-American residents of Ferguson. And they were profoundly and fundamentally unconstitutional.”

By April, a federal judge approved a new agreement between the city of Ferguson and the Justice Department.

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