Major Delrish Moss has signed on to be the new police chief in Ferguson, Missouri, filling the position left vacant by Tom Jackson, who resigned last year after a damning Justice Department review following the police killing of Michael Brown.
Moss, a police major from Miami, will be tasked with taking control of a department that was thrown into chaos after officer Darren Wilson killed Brown. The subsequent Justice Department review found officers trading racist jokes with one another and targeting Black citizens for traffic violations as a source of income for the city. Those who could not pay were jailed and given more charges, trapping them in a cycle of swelling fees, which were then used to pay things like police salaries.
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said, "This has been a long and strenuous process, but we believe Major Moss is the right choice." Adding, "We understand that past 18 months have not been easy for everyone, but the city is now moving forwards and we are excited to have Major Moss lead our police department."
Moss spoke to the Miami Herald, saying, "Ferguson needs a lot of things...It needs a massive recruiting drive to become more reflective of the community. You can't tell me there are no qualified African-Americans in that community." Moss, who grew up in Miami's inner-city, also spoke about his own experience with inner-city unrest. "I lived in Overtown when it burned. You see things being destroyed...The people hurt the most are not the police or the businesses outside the area. It's the people who live there. And I was one of those families."
Moss is a member of the NAACP and president of the Police Athletic League, which works with young athletes. He was set to retire from the Miami department in September but is certainly ready to get to work in a job that started out reviewing 54 candidates.
Ferguson's police force was predominately white at the time of Brown's murder, despite the town's population being two-thirds black. Since then, the city has begun to make an effort to recruit more Black officers, while the new city manager, municipal judge and police chief are all Black men.
It appears that the city of Ferguson is starting to make strides towards a better future. Watch how community members have turned anger into action with BET News:
(Photo: Matias J. Ocner/The Miami Herald via AP Photo)