Murad nominated as Burlington’s next top cop

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 12:23 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 28, 2022 at 8:05 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger Thursday nominated acting police Chief Jon Murad to be the Queen City’s next top cop, but political infighting between the mayor and Progressives on the City Council could derail that pick.

“I want to serve this city, I want to serve the people in it. I want to lead the men and women who do the real work,” Murad said during the announcement.

Murad has served as the acting chief for nearly 20 months, taking on the role in June 2020. He would replace Brandon del Pozo, his former boss, who resigned in 2020 following a scandal over fake social media accounts that embroiled both the chief as well as his former deputy, Jan Wright.

“I know that I have more to give than we have seen in these 20 months, that we have a farther road to walk together, that it’s a road that we must walk together, and that we can strive together,” Murad said.

The search was put on pause after it received an insufficient candidate pool. The mayor’s nomination comes after the City Council rejected raising the pay grade for the position and giving the chief disciplinary oversight of the force.

“Let’s give him the chance to demonstrate what he can do in this critical time with the full powers and duties of the office of Burlington’s chief of police,” Weinberger said.

In order for that to happen, the council must vote to approve the nomination. Councilor Joan Shannon, D-South, is among the Democrats backing the mayor’s choice. “Everything I have heard from my constituents leads me to believe that he is known to our community and he is beloved in our community. There are his detractors, but they are the minority,” she said.

But the Progressive majority on the council has been at odds with the mayor and acting chief over policing policies for nearly two years. “I think there is, on multiple fronts, a resistance to transformation that makes acting Chief Murad not the right fit for Burlington, so I will definitely be voting no,” said Councilor Joe Magee, P-Ward 3.

Councilor Ali Dieng, I-Ward 7, who is typically a swing vote, says he is unsure of what the vote will look like. “The votes aren’t there, and I do believe that the mayor is pretty aware that basically even with my vote as an Independent, the Progressives will not be voting in support of Murad, so basically it will fail,” he said.

“We want to make it very clear that Mayor Weinberger does not have the votes in the city council to confirm Acting Chief Murad as Burlington’s permanent chief of police. Burlington needs a permanent chief of police who demonstrates a commitment to transforming public safety in Burlington. Right now, Jon Murad is not that candidate,” said Progressive City Councilors in a statement.

The council is expected to vote on the nomination Monday.

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