Burlington mayor names 4th police chief in a week

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) The Burlington Police Department has a new interim police chief-- again. It's the fourth chief this week in the wake of a social media scandal.

Jennifer Morrison and Mayor Miro Weinberger

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger on Friday announced that Jennifer Morrison will serve as interim chief. Morrison is a former Burlington deputy police chief and most recently worked as Colchester's police chief.

This, as the department launches a national search for someone to fill the role full time.

The mayor also announced that Burlington Deputy Police Chief Jan Wright has been put on paid administrative leave.

It came out earlier this week that Wright had a fake Facebook account she used to interact with the public. That revelation came after the mayor named Wright interim chief to replace Brandon del Pozo, who resigned after admitting he used a fake Twitter account to attack critics of the city.

Weinberger then replaced Wright as interim chief with Deputy Chief Jon Murad, who will stay on until Morrison takes over.

Our Ike Bendavid was there for the announcement and asked the mayor why not keep Murad in the position of acting chief if it's temporary.

Weinberger said that with two ranking officers leaving the department this week-- del Pozo and Wright-- he felt it would help stabilize the department to have both Murad and Morrison there. The mayor added he has confidence in Murad.

Weinberger says he picked Morrison as interim chief because of her experience. He said she is not interested in the permanent position. She will take over Jan. 6. The City Council will have to approve her appointment when they meet in January.

"For practical purposes, given the suddenness of what happened on Monday, I thought it was important for operational reasons not to do that immediately. I do think it is important to follow the typical practice and to complete that now. I'll have more to say about this as soon as possible," said Weinberger, D-Burlington.

"It is an honor and a privilege to rejoin the organization that taught me so much and shaped me as a law enforcement leader. There is definitely some work to be done. I appreciate the support of the community, the city leadership, but most importantly, the employees of BPD," Morrison said.

Last Friday, WCAX News shared some audio of a roll call meeting at BPD. It was a shift change meeting where officers asked Deputy Chief Murad questions about the del Pozo situation.

Now, we have confirmed there is an internal investigation to try to determine who gave us that audio, calling it an improper release of department information. We're told that sometimes people are invited into roll call but that room is considered a safe room for officers talking about details.

When we asked if that's a reflection of the department right now and the morale, we were told that's why there is an investigation.

The police association says the ramifications are unclear and they support the investigation.

WCAX confirms that Deputy Jan Wright had a Facebook account under the name Lori Spicer.

On Instagram, there is a there is an account with the handle 'lspicer420'.

WCAX has been asking the mayor's office for days to confirm if this account also belongs to Deputy Chief Wright.

They have refused to answer; however, the mayor did confirm to the Burlington Free Press that the account belongs to Wright. One of Spicer's followers is Jennifer Morrison, which is the same Jennifer Morrison named interim chief.

We reached out to Morrison, who says she did not know of any of Jan Wright's fake accounts.

Morrison adds she does not use her account but it was set up more than ten years ago to keep an eye on her daughter's social media platforms.

She says the only social media she uses is Facebook.