Arlington Picks Baltimore County Cop as New Police Chief

Col. Al Jones promised transparency and community policing while head of APD

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The city of Arlington announced Monday evening it had bypassed three internal candidates and chose a Baltimore County police executive as its new police chief.

Col. Al Jones of the Baltimore County Police Department is set to start in Arlington on Jan. 11.

“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,” Yelverton said.

In a call with reporters on Tuesday, Jones introduced himself and promised as chief he would focus on transparency and community policing.

"I look forward to focusing on community based policing, building relationships and working with the community to solve problems," Jones said. "You can’t have a true trusting relationship if you don’t have an open and honest dialogue."

In Baltimore County, Jones has overseen the community relations bureau since 2018 after joining the department as an officer in 1995.

The Baltimore County Police Department has around 1,900 officers and serves the suburban area of 835,000 people living outside of the city.

Jones was passed over for that department's top job last year. He'll be leaving the only department he's known for Arlington, a city of 400,000, with nearly 900 police officers.

Alisa Simmons is President of the Arlington chapter of the NAACP. She supported an outside candidate.

"We are optimistic and we look forward to building a relationship with the new chief," Simmons said.

Simmons and other Arlington activists have pushed for a citizen review board after several high-profile cases in recent years have called officer's actions into question.

"We look forward to the day the city is not paying out multimillions of dollars in settlements for lethal force cases," said Simmons.

Jones said he personally supported a hybrid approach that allowed citizens to review an internal affairs investigation after it was completed, but one that lacked subpoena power. He added he would support any policy lawmakers approved.

Jones said his first priority will be getting to know Arlington's officers and then reaching out to community leaders and activists.

"They will have a seat at my table when we’re actually making decisions about how they want to be policed," said Jones.

“It's always exciting when there’s a new chief coming on board," said Luis Castillo, president of Arlington's LULAC chapter. "They bring new ideas and experiences and Chief Jones has demonstrated experience of community policing. He’s starting with a clean slate and we’ll see how long the honeymoon phase lasts."

Jones beat out three internal candidates that had applied for the job and was among a pool of 71 applicants, according to the city.

On Tuesday, two local law enforcement groups said they look forward to working with Jones.

“We’re looking forward to a new chief, new perspective and looking forward to working with and leading this department where it needs to go hopefully," said Chris CeBallos, President of Arlington's Municipal Patrolmen's Association.

“We are glad the process is over and looking forward to working with him," said J.P. Mason, president of the Arlington Police Association. "We just want a chief that keeps us in the positive direction that we're headed."

Separately, Dallas and Fort Worth are also looking for new police chiefs after the current chiefs in both cities announced they were leaving.

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