WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich defended his choice to fill the county's vacant police chief position saying the current nominee shares his vision of policing and that he is not concerned by the way her last job ended.
Tonya Chapman says she was forced to resign as chief of police in Portsmouth, Virginia after the city manager told her she had lost the "confidence of the department".
After losing her job in Portsmouth, Chapman wrote an open letter to the community saying some members of the force pushed back on her effort to change the culture of the department.
“Having been a member of two other law enforcement agencies, I have never witnessed the degree of bias and acts of systemic racism, discriminatory practices and abuse of authority in all of my almost 30-year career in law enforcement and public safety,” Chapman said in the letter.
Chapman's claim is now the subject of an FBI investigation.
"I am actually not concerned about that," said Elrich. "Managers leave jobs all the time when there is a conflict between say your supervisors or the elected officials who manage you and you know they were pretty clear that her performance was pretty strong. There was a difference, I think, in the direction of where people wanted the department to go, but I am confident the direction she wanted to be in is the direction I want a police chief here to be in".
Chapman spent more than 20 years with the Arlington County Police Department before serving as a Deputy Chief in Richmond. She then was recruited to work for the governor's office in Homeland Security.
Elrich says he is impressed with Chapman's resume and the flexibility it showed in moving from a deputy chief's job to working in Homeland Security for the state.
The county executive says Chapman shares his vision on community policing.
"Look, she was the first black female chief in Virginia", said Elrich. "This is the 21st century, I think it says something about culture and climate that it has taken to this point to have a black and a female police chief so I wasn't there, I wasn't a witness to anything, but if there is an investigation we will see what comes out of it."
We reached out to the FOP in Montgomery County and in Portsmouth for comment but received no response.
One county council member, Tom Hucker told FOX 5, he has met with Chapman and is impressed with her but wants to speak with his colleagues before deciding on how to vote.
Chapman will have to be confirmed by the council before taking over the department. Public hearings are set for September.