Prince George’s County officially has a new police chief.
Chief Malik Aziz was sworn in by County Executive Angela Alsobrooks Tuesday, after he was unanimously approved by the County Council.
Aziz started his career with the Dallas Police Department 29 years ago, serving as deputy chief for nearly a decade. He’s also the former executive director of the National Black Police Association and is widely seen as a reformer and strong proponent of community policing.
“During our national search,” Alsobrooks told the council before they confirmed Aziz, “he stood out as an individual who is not only reform-minded, and has always placed an emphasis on the importance of community policing, but … also backs up his reform efforts with results, lowering crime and showing that community policing does work.”
His focus will be on reforming the department and instilling a mindset of community policing.
“It enabled me to contribute to 21st Century Policing,” Aziz said after he was confirmed, “and 21st Century Policing must become a reality. We must simply evolve, or we will perish. The community is dependent on smart policing, and smart policing is what we shall deliver.”
Aziz presented to the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Police in December 2014, saying at the time “There’s no us versus them. There’s only us.” That statement grabbed the attention of President Obama, who invited Aziz to the White House to further discuss policing.
Alsobrooks announced Aziz as her choice for the role in March; Aziz has been interim chief since early May.
One of his first priorities will be to reduce crime in the county and implement reforms outlined by the police reform task force to tackle allegations of racism that have dogged the Prince George’s Police Department.
The county’s former police chief, Hank Stawinski, resigned last year following a report from the American Civil Liberties Union that alleged discrimination and racial bias in the department.
Aziz recounted how when he was a child he ran away from the police, and the changes of “the new policing era.”
He thanked “the honorable citizens and the noble and professional police of Prince George’s County, that you accept me on my confirmation day with this great honor that enables me to stand before you today. So with that said, thank you and I look forward to serving and working with you.”