City Manager Trey Yelverton has appointed Col. Al Jones, a 25-year veteran of the Baltimore County Police Department, as the City of Arlington’s new police chief.
Jones, who currently serves as the chief of Baltimore County Police Department’s Community Relations Bureau, was selected through a robust, community-based process that began in June. Seventy-four law enforcement leaders from across the nation applied to lead Arlington’s nearly 900-member police force. 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 capability to lead our officers and community of nearly 400,000 residents in that direction.
“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 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 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.
Jones said he is greatly looking forward to getting to know residents and officers personally, adding that he appreciates the community’s participation in the robust selection process. 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.
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.
Yelverton thanked the community, city employees and other stakeholders for participating in the selection process and providing valuable input and perspective on the city’s needs related to police leadership. 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. 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.