FERGUSON, Mo. – Ferguson is about to begin a search for its fourth police chief in less than four years. Chief Delrish Moss was hired while the city was still struggling with civil unrest in the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting by a Ferguson police officer.
On Friday, Chief Moss held a news conference to discuss his resignation and hopes for the future.
This was certainly a surprise when Moss announced his intention to leave the department next month. He came to Ferguson from the Miami Police Department two and a half years ago.
“My last day with the City of Ferguson will be November 16,” Moss said. “It is my intention to return to Miami to fulfill some family obligations.”
Moss said his mom suffered a stroke two years ago and he needs to be closer to her now. And despite what he called healthy squabbles with Mayor James Knowles, Moss said leaving was his own decision.
“Nobody is forcing me out, causing me to leave,” he said. “No personality is making me go. Plus, I’m from south Florida, I'm a little tougher than that.”
Moss spent much of his tenure implementing reforms, some of which were mandated by a report from the US Justice Department. He feels Ferguson is much better now than when he arrived.
“We've managed to hire historic levels of African-Americans in the department that were sorely lacking. We've hired more women,” Moss said.
The chief said violent crime is down as well, the result of team effort. He said Assistant Police Chief Frank McCall, who will act as interim chief, should be his full-time successor.
Dealing with the social media aspect of the job in Ferguson was something that challenged Moss. The chief said he spent lots of time correcting rumors and falsehoods being spread online. But he said Ferguson is like every other town.
“People want better schools for kids, better lives for themselves,” he said. “They want to live and prosper and be safe.”