One year after protests interrupted the Maplewood National Night Out following on the release of video showing police punching and kicking a handcuffed teen, Maplewood Township swore in a new Deputy Police Chief and a new Captain — signaling another step in the transformation of the Maplewood Police Department.
“What a difference a year makes,” commented Maplewood Township Committee member Dean Dafis.
Simultaneous to the Maplewood 2017 National Night Out event, the Maplewood Township Committee called for the former police chief’s resignation and placed him on 60-day administrative leave (he ultimately took early retirement). Since that night, the Township has worked to increase and improve training for police and overhaul the department. The Township has promoted a new Chief of Police — Jim DeVaul — after a very public search and public presentation by finalists.
Maplewood’s new Deputy Police Chief and Captain addressed challenges faces police-community relations — both locally and nationally — during their remarks at their formal swearing-in ceremonies at the Maplewood Municipal Court and Police building.
Newly minted Deputy Chief Albert Frederick Sally becomes the highest ranking African-American ever in the Maplewood Police Department.
“I take this position very seriously and understand the responsibilities of this position especially at this time when the Maplewood Police Department is making efforts to improve relations with the community.” Sally noted his background in working with families and children and in forming community policing initiatives.
“The department has worked on improving community relations in the last year,” said Sally. He noted “a series of promotions and hirings, increasing training for officers, the development of the community service bureau, meeting with various organizations, the clergy alliance, and the new Maplewood community board on police which I look forward to working on as the community liaison.”
Sally thanked his family, including cousins, and everyone in the police department include patrols and dispatch. He also thanked Chief Jim DeVaul “for your dedication and leadership and vision to change the department” and congratulated newly minted Captain Kevin Kisch for “his professionalism and being Kevin Kisch” (this elicited a laugh from Mayor Vic DeLuca; Kisch is noted for his gregarious personality).
Kisch in his comments joked that he wanted to borrow Sally’s speech “because you covered it all.”
But Kisch was eloquent on his own saying that the role of the police is “to give to Maplewood — the residents, our citizens and visitors in our town — the service of a police department that all people deserve. Dignity and respect, that’s all we want to give to people.”
Notably he thanked the Internal Affairs director Capt. Dawn Williams for “patience, humor” in a difficult job. Kisch got choked up in thanking the students of MMS and CHS for “validating the lessons that I learned from … three Maplewood guys” including his father Lt. Peter Kisch.
“That is my endeavor: to serve you,” said Kisch.