The head of the Arlington branch of the NAACP wants the county government to include more public involvement as it prepares to select a new police chief.
“We cannot take our eyes off the ball. Elected and county officials should obtain our community’s input when determining the next police chief’s criteria,” NAACP president Julius “J.D.” Spain Sr. said in a letter to County Manager Mark Schwartz, released April 5.
Community groups should “have the opportunity to participate throughout the entire selection process,” Spain wrote. “Now more than ever, we need openness and transparency, and all candidates should understand the needs of the community.”
In the past, Arlington government officials have provided the public only limited opportunities for direct involvement in selection of top officials, such as county manager and superintendent of schools, and even less chance for involvement in the selection of department heads such as chief of police.
The county’s most recent permanent police chief, Jay Farr, retired last year.