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Former Pittsburgh Police commander in line to be Charlottesville, Va.'s new chief

| Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 10:07 a.m.
RaShall Brackney, major crimes commander with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, has been hired as the chief of the George Washington University Police Department.
RaShall Brackney, major crimes commander with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, has been hired as the chief of the George Washington University Police Department.

A former Pittsburgh Bureau of Police commander has been chosen as the next police chief in Charlottesville, Va., officials said.

RaShall Brackney, who rose over 30 years to become commander of Pittsburgh's Major Crimes Division, was recommended for the Charlottesville job by its city manager Tuesday night, according to an announcement on the city's website . Council will take a formal vote at its Monday meeting.

The city of 45,600 is home to the University of Virginia and was thrust into the national spotlight last year when a "Unite the Right" rally protesting the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee turned into a violent clash between white supremacists and counter-protesters, leading to the death of one counter-protester.

Brackney will be replacing former Chief Al Thomas, who retired amid criticism of how his department handled the protests.

"Chief Brackney will bring over three decades of law enforcement experience to our police department," City Manager Maurice Jones said in the announcement. "During her time in Pittsburgh, she was deeply committed to building strong relationships between the residents and the police officers who serve and protect them."

Brackney left Pittsburgh in 2015 to become chief of the George Washington University Police Department. She had been commander of the Pittsburgh bureau's Zone 1 station before being promoted to the Major Crimes Division.

She holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D from Robert Morris University, which she completed after moving to northern Virginia. She remains a member of the board at Homewood Children's Village, a nonprofit supporting children and families in the Pittsburgh neighborhood.

Charlottesville officials said Brackney will begin work June 18.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6660, or via Twitter @msantoni.

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