Updated: Council President Calls on County Executive to Name New Police Chief

Updated: Council President Calls on County Executive to Name New Police Chief

Other finalist, Takoma Park chief Antonio DeVaul, withdrew Wednesday

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Tonya Chapman

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Following the withdrawal Wednesday of Takoma Park Police Chief Antonio DeVaul from consideration in the Montgomery County police chief search, Council President Nancy Navarro has asked County Executive Marc Elrich to name his appointee.

Navarro wrote in a memo to Elrich Thursday morning that she had received questions from the news media about a candidate. Navarro did not mention the candidate by name, but the lone remaining publicly announced candidate is Tonya Chapman, former police chief in Portsmouth, Virginia. Navarro asked Elrich to write a letter naming the individual as his nominee as soon as possible, so that council members can vet the candidate and give feedback to a council staff member by Aug. 15. She added that the council will interview Elrich’s nominee when the council returns from their month-long August recess.

“This is a very crucial appointment and councilmembers have shared with me their desire to be methodical and thorough in the discharge of their duty and responsibility in the appointment process,” she wrote.

DeVaul, one of two finalists for the job, withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday afternoon, leaving Chapman as the sole remaining candidate.

“Over the weekend, the flood of calls and emails I received from residents distraught about me leaving Takoma Park really hit home for me,” DeVaul said in a post on the city’s Facebook page.

Barry Hudson, a spokesman for Elrich, confirmed in an email that DeVaul was no longer in the running.

DeVaul was one of two finalists chosen by Elrich to fill the vacancy, which was created by the departure of former chief J. Thomas Manger, who left in April after 15 years on the job.

Chapman, who served as the police chief for the Portsmouth, Virginia police department until she was forced to resign in March. Chapman’s three-year tenure in Portsmouth was marked by clashes with officers who worked under her and other controversies. She alleged that she was forced out due to “systemic racism,” although the city manager said Chapman’s departure was only related to “concerns with leadership of the department.”

Elrich last week eliminated Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones from consideration for the job. Jones had been one of about 20 candidates who were in the running.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Council President Nancy Navarro had requested that County Executive Marc Elrich name Tonya Chapman as police chief. Navarro’s memo to Elrich did not mention Chapman by name.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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