The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has appointed former police commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department, Kevin Davis, as the new chief of police in Fairfax County, Virginia.
The board announced the decision Friday, saying it was seeking a “fresh perspective to further our work on police reform in Fairfax County.”
It marks the first time the county has hired an external candidate in its history.
“After thorough interviews, the entire Board is confident that Kevin Davis will continue Fairfax’s work on police reform, build on the deep community involvement and relationships with stakeholders, and improve morale within the police department.”
In 2018, then-Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh had Davis replaced as police commissioner as part of an effort to reduce violent crime in the city. Deputy Commissioner Darryl D. DeSousa was appointed to take over for him, becoming the third police commissioner in Baltimore in three years.
Pugh — who later resigned as mayor of the city after becoming embroiled in scandal — said at the time that she was replacing Davis because she was “impatient,” saying: “We need to get these numbers down.”
The former Fairfax County police chief, Edwin Roessler, retired in November 2020. While he said it had no bearing on his decision to step down, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) had called for his resignation, and his officers passed a vote of no confidence against him last summer.
Roessler had accused an officer who tasered a man who appeared to be disoriented of violating the department’s use-of-force policy. The FOP said Roessler failed to be “a fair and impartial leader.”
Davis is slated to take over as chief May 3.
In an emailed statement, county Supervisor James Walkinshaw said Davis is “someone with a proven track record of implementing meaningful reforms in the face of fierce resistance.”
“With Chief Kevin Davis, Fairfax County is poised to build on the accountability measures already in place here and lead the nation in ensuring that the law is employed as an instrument of justice,” Walkinshaw said.