The day he was sworn in as the Ferguson (MO) Police Department's new chief, Delrish Moss said his pursuit of a high-ranking position in a police department had a personal motivation: He wanted to fire bad cops like the ones who abused him.
Moss took the oath of office at the Ferguson Community Center on Monday in front of a crowd of about 150 people, including city residents, police from other departments in the region, as well as a handful of officers from Moss’ previous employer, the Miami Police Department.
Then, in his first remarks to Ferguson officers as their new boss, Moss delivered a stern warning.
“If you work hard, if you stay honest and committed, if you maintain respect for the community and do your job well, we will get along just fine,” he said. “If you fall short of that, and it’s through a mistake of the head, we will work to correct that. But if you do it with malice, if you do the job in a way that disrespects the badge that you hold, I will see to it that you are either removed from police service, or further prosecuted.”
Moss says he was driven to become an officer after negative run-ins with officers in his youth, Moss said, including once when an officer shoved him against a wall. Another time an officer used a racial slur when referring to Moss.
Moss’ speech lasted less than five minutes, but it was met with a standing ovation, the Chicago Tribune reports.
As Ferguson’s chief, Moss confronts significant challenges: budget problems, officers who may resist change and the hundreds of provisions in a U.S. Department of Justice agreement to which the department must adhere.