NAACP calls for robust, national search for new Dayton police chief

The next Dayton police chief needs to be a visible community leader with an understanding of the various cultures inside the city and be committed to reimaging policing to meet 21st century standards, local NAACP leaders said Friday.

In addition, the city should take its time and ensure it finds and vets every qualified candidate interested in the position, Dayton Unit NAACP President Derrick Foward said.

“While there may be qualified internal candidates to lead the organization, the city would be doing itself and the citizens a disservice by not seeking and interviewing other candidates for the top cop position,” he said.

Leaders of the Civil Rights organization spoke with media as the city of Dayton is searching for a new police chief at a critical juncture for police reform efforts, and at a time when law enforcement is under extra scrutiny. City officials said the selection process will include input from city staff, reform group members, community stakeholders and neighborhood leaders.

The city launched the nationwide search to replace Chief Richard Biehl, who retired at the end of July after leading the police department for 13 years. Former Lt. Col. Matt Carper was named interim chief.

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Foward said he has met with Carper, and he plans to meet with him quarterly moving forward to discuss policing issues in Dayton. The NAACP president said that gender and race should not be taken into account when selecting the new chief, and the city should choose the most qualified candidate. But the leader should be committed to diversity and recruiting a diverse workforce.

In addition, the next police chief should set up times to meet with community groups and should work with local schools to promote relationships with children and teens in the community, he said.

“The next chief must be visible with boots on the ground,” Foward said. “He or she should value transparency and welcome citizen’s input into the policies and practices of the department.”

ExploreDayton’s search for new police chief gets underway

The new chief should also go to local churches to communicate and listen to residents’ concerns, Dayton Unit NAACP 3rd Vice President Willie A. Terrell Jr. said.

“It’s very important that the new chief is on the ground and working with those people on the ground,” Terrell said. “Get out of the cars and go around the beat and talk to folks about their concern.”

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