Fairfax County chooses former Baltimore City police commissioner as new chief

Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis will be the new Fairfax County chief of police, effective May 3.

After emerging from a closed session, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this afternoon (Friday) to appoint Davis to lead the Fairfax County Police Department. He will succeed Deputy County Executive for Public Safety Dave Rohrer, who has been serving as an interim chief since former Chief Edwin C. Roessler retired in February.

“This is a humbling moment for me,” Davis said on a video call with the supervisors. “I will take it very seriously and I promise not to let you down.”

The decision came after a firm hired by the county conducted a nationwide search that involved more than 275 community meetings and calls, more than 450 emails sent to stakeholders, and a survey that received more than 3,000 responses, according to the county.

The Board of Supervisors “strongly weighed” the survey results in the final hiring decision, the county said.

“We are delighted to have you on board,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay said. “We look forward to working with you on behalf of our community.”

Speaking to FCPD officers, Davis said, “You guys are a great agency. I want to say that loudly and clearly.”

“Is there room for improvement? Of course. Are you up to the task? Of course. Is change sometimes hard or difficult? Absolutely,” he said. “We have to seize this moment and continue to get better.”

Davis said earning trust starts with establishing legitimacy and paying attention to communities of color and people who are vulnerable and underserved.

“We have to meet you where you are, be better listeners, be less defensive and quite frankly, see you,” he said.

On accountability, Davis said he will “call balls and strikes.” And as for reform, he told police officers that the county has already embarked on a number of common-sense reforms and encouraged them to embrace this process.

“Reform is what we do for police officers, not to them,” he said. “It makes you better, it earns you better relationships with the community.”

In a statement released shortly after, McKay said Davis is recognized across the region as a leader in police reform, has a strong reputation, and is well-respected in the communities in which he has served.

“As this nation looks to transform policing to make the community safer for everyone, we have the opportunity for a fresh perspective to further our work on police reform in Fairfax County,” McKay said. “After thorough interviews, the entire Board is confident that Kevin Davis will continue Fairfax’s work on police reform, build on the deep community involvement and relationships with stakeholders, and improve morale within the police department.”

According to the county, Davis served as the City of Baltimore’s police commissioner from 2015 to 2018. He had previously served as chief of police of Anne Arundel County in Maryland from 2013 to 2014, and as assistant chief of the Prince George’s County Police Department from 1992 to 2013. Most recently, he has worked as director of consulting services for GardaWorld.

Davis will receive an annual salary of $215,000.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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