Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones has recommended Alfred S. Thomas Jr. for the City of Charlottesville's next chief of police.
The need for a replacement arose in November 2015 when current Chief Tim Longo announced his plan to retire this May.
From 1985 to 1990, Thomas served in the United States Air Force, where he attained the rank of staff sergeant. He then joined the Lynchburg Police Department where he worked for 20 years in various roles.
Thomas has served as the chief of police in Lexington, Va., since 2010. As chief, he orchestrated numerous initiatives in the city including operational reorganization, updates to emergency communication systems, expanded outreach to city youth and a junior police academy.
Thomas's experience in Lexington made him stand out as the clear choice for recommendation to the Council, Jones said.
"Chief Thomas was an excellent candidate who rose to the top of a very deep applicant pool," Jones said in a press release. "He has the experience, the interpersonal skills and leadership abilities we were searching for in our next chief. I am confident Chief Thomas and the dedicated men and women in our department will build upon the great work of his predecessor."
Thomas said he would be honored to be the next chief of Charlottesville.
"I am very excited and honored to be named the next police chief in Charlottesville," Thomas said. "Charlottesville is a great city. One of the finest cities in the United States, and I understand that and I am excited. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
Thomas said he looks forward to building relationships and fostering trust in the Charlottesville community.
One of the most impressive and compelling things about Charlottesville is the community’s level of engagement, Thomas said.
“The one thing that I was so impressed by this process that the city manager conducted was the involvement by the community,” Thomas said. “They were so focused, so engaged and that showed me rather quickly how important this job is [and] how important a new chief will be to the community. I was so impressed by the number of citizens that were participating.”
Thomas would be the city’s first African-American police chief.
Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy tweeted his support for Thomas and said the recommendation “brings hope to people who thought something like this would never happen.”
“This also goes to show that WE, the city of Charlottesville, isn't [sic] going to follow the "norms" past. We aren't perfect, but we are improving,” Bellamy tweeted.
The City Council will formally consider the appointment April 18 during their regularly scheduled meeting time.