Arlington selects new police chief from Baltimore department

Al Jones, new Arlington Police Chief

Col. Al Jones, a 25-year veteran of the Baltimore County Police Department, has been appointed the new police chief of the the City of Arlington’s new police chief.

City Manager Trey Yelverton said Jones was an ideal choice because of his years of experience in implementing strong, community-based policing principles, his understanding of the future of policing, and his leadership capabilities.

“We have a great police department, and we have identified a leader who can continue ensuring excellent service to our residents and move our city positively forward,” Yelverton said in a city news release. “In the true spirit of community policing, I know that our whole community will come together and support Chief Jones and our police department in keeping our community safe.”

Jones, who currently serves as the chief of Baltimore County Police Department’s Community Relations Bureau, was selected through a process that began in June.

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Jones will replace former Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson who announced on April 27 his plans to retire in June after a nearly 26-year career, 23-years of service with the city of Arlington.

Johnson joined Arlington in 1997 and quickly rose through the ranks before being named interim police chief in 2012. City Manager Trey Yelverton appointed Johnson as police chief in 2013.

In August, the City of Arlington named five finalists including three internal candidates.

Jones began his law enforcement career in 1995 as a Baltimore County police officer and steadily rose through the ranks of the 18th largest law enforcement agency in the nation. Since 2018, Jones has overseen management of the Community Relations Bureau, focused on building trust within communities throughout the county while diversifying the agency to better mirror the communities it serves.
Baltimore County is a metropolitan area with approximately 835,000 residents outside of the City of Baltimore. Baltimore County, CALEA accredited since 1985, has long been recognized as a progressive agency in the development of community-based policing.

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In addition to taking a data-driven approach to respond to and find efficient, effective solutions for the city’s needs, Jones said he believes building relationships between police officers and neighborhoods, businesses and other stakeholders is critical to creating a place where people want to live, work, learn and play.

“Officers can’t be everywhere, which is why it is vitally important for the community to be engaged and help serve as our eyes and ears. Neighborhood involvement with the police department creates not only a safer community, but a stronger community,” Jones said in a news release.

Arlington will host a public event to welcome Jones when he begins as the new police chief on Jan. 11, 2021. Details will be announced at a later date.

Assistant Police Chief Kevin Kolbye will continue to serve as the department’s interim police chief until then.

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 Yelverton thanked the community, city employees and other stakeholders for participating in the selection process. He also thanked The Bowman Group, a local Arlington consulting firm with a specialty in police and public practices who helped recruit and vet the applicants.

In September, Jones and eight other police chief candidates had the opportunity to engage in face-to-face interviews with a wide range of panelists that brought diverse perspectives and experiences to the selection process.

The series of panel interviews included two community panels, a regional police chief panel, an internal police employee panel, and a city executive panel.
Then last month, Jones and four other finalists completed another round of internal interviews and participated in a forum where members of the community were able to ask questions to the candidates directly.

Jones recently participated in executive leadership training from groups such as the Major Cities Chiefs Association Executive Leadership Institute and the FBI-Law Enforcement Executive Development Association, which allowed him to engage with chiefs across the nation to discuss significant issues affecting policing in America as well as implementation of the 21st Century Policing Report.

Jones has been recognized by groups such as the Baltimore Country Branch of NAACP and the Islamic Society of Baltimore for exemplary service, leadership abilities and for being an advocate for equal rights. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Hartford and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Ashworth College. Seventy-four law enforcement leaders from across the nation applied to lead Arlington’s nearly 900-member police force.

Arlington is not the only local city seeking a new police chief. Fort Worth and Dallas are also in the process of finding a new leader for their police departments.