Dayton names Kamran Afzal new police chief

Kamran Afzal
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Kamran Afzal

Dayton’s new police chief has nearly 30 years of experience in law enforcement operations and leadership, most recently as police chief in Hopewell, Virginia.

Kamran Afzal will begin his service with the Dayton Police Department on Dec. 20, Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein announced Friday.

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Speaking from his home Friday night, Afzal told the Dayton Daily News the size of Dayton’s police force, which was similar to the department he worked in earlier in his career, the professional and efficient way the commission ran its meetings and the city’s work to diversity its economy were in part what attracted him to Dayton.

“The community itself seemed a very welcoming community,” Afzal said. “I’m looking forward to coming to Dayton with my family.”

He will lead a department of 368 sworn officers, 39 civilian employees and will manage an annual budget of $57 million in the city of 137,600 residents.

In Hopewell, a city of 23,000 residents, Afzal led a force of 68 officers.

Afzal was selected from a field of four finalists, which included Matt Carper, Dayton’s interim chief. He replaces Richard Biehl, who retired in July after more than 13 years at the helm.

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“Over the last six months, this community has engaged in an extensive recruitment process, which provided me with a diverse spectrum of perspectives and invaluable input necessary for me to select the best police chief for our city,” Dickstein stated. “Throughout the process, Kamran consistently displayed leadership qualities that will serve our police department and community well. His experience in successfully implementing effective community engagement processes, leading various police operational units in reducing crime, along with his demonstrated commitment to train and develop the next generation of police leaders makes Chief Afzal a great addition to our team.”

Afzal was born in Pakistan and immigrated to the U.S. when he was a teenager. He earned a bachelor’s in economics from George Mason University and a master’s of public administration with a concentration in criminal justice from Troy University in Alabama.

Afzal began his law enforcement career in 1991 with the U.S. Capitol Police and in 1993 joined the Arlington County (Virginia) Police Department, where he received a wide variety of experience from patrol officer to command staff member for the agency with about 350 sworn officers. Afzal also served as chief of the Durango Police Department from April 2017 to December 2018.

“I look forward to working with the community and serving with the people working in the department and the city’s leadership. Like all officers, I plan to serve the community to the best of my ability” Afzal said.

The city’s search for a new chief began last spring after Biehl first announced his retirement and the city hired an outside consultant to help find qualified candidates.

The city told the Dayton Daily News last week that about 30 people expressed interest in or applied for the city’s top cop job, including three people from Ohio and many others from out of state.

“I am excited to have Chief Afzal lead the Dayton Police Department,” said Mayor Nan Whaley. “An important outcome of our police reform process was robust community involvement in the selection of our new chief, and I feel certain that the community’s voice was heard. I look forward to seeing Chief Afzal carry out the long-term implementation of our police reform process and build on the work that has already been done.”

A reception to welcome Afzal and his wife, Mona, is planned, the city stated.

NOTE: Afzal’s starting date has been corrected from a previous version of the story.

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