New Dayton police chief praised by leaders of his community in Virginia

Kamran Afzal
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Kamran Afzal

The new Dayton police chief who will begin his tenure here in December received high marks and praise from community leaders in Hopewell, Va. — the city he is leaving for the new job.

Hopewell Branch 7078 NAACP President Vodricka Epps told the Dayton Daily News that Kamran Afzal is the most transparent police chief he has ever worked with.

“He is a community chief. He wants to know the people, and he wants the people to know him,” Epps said. “He believes in his officers doing the right thing.”

“He is a great chief, the work he has done in Hopewell has been amazing,” Epps said.

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Afzal was chosen to take over the department after former Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl retired in July. Afzal was picked over about 30 other candidates who applied for the position, including current Interim Chief Matt Carper.

“I’m looking forward to coming there and serving the people who are already in the department — the leadership that’s there,” Afzal told the Dayton Daily News hours after being hired. “(I’m) looking forward to working with the community that’s there and like all officers, I’m no different. I’m trying to improve and serve the community to the best of our ability.”

Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said that Afzal was selected because of the leadership experience he has demonstrated.

Epps and Hopewell Vice Mayor John Partin said Afzal started boards and groups that went out into the community to learn about public safety issues facing neighborhoods. Afzal also was instrumental in creating a citizen review board that oversaw how complaints against the police were handled, the men said.

“He was a very open police chief and willing to talk to folks,” Partin said. “He was very engaged with the community. He did a lot of town hall meetings, open forums where a lot of residents and small businesses owners came out to express their concerns in neighborhoods.”

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Afzal also worked with small business owners, community leaders, civic leaders and others to address the symptoms of crime, Partin said. As part of his resumè for the Dayton police chief job, Afzal included that he developed partnerships with community nonprofits to focus on restorative and preventative measures.

“It was a really good diverse group of people that came together and worked on building community relations, working on how do we tackle the symptoms of crime and the ‘why’ people commit crime and fixing that crux,” Partin said. “That way not only are we fighting crime, but we’re also improving quality of life and economic development for folks.”

Becky McDonough, the CEO of the local chamber of commerce, told the Dayton Daily News that the business community in Hopewell is sad to see Afzal leave.

“In his time here he was very accessible, he seemed to really appreciate and promote his staff and he was responsive and we are very sorry to see him go,” she said.

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