Yesterday, May 25, surrounded by community leaders and supporters, Mayor Miro Weinberger announced his intention to bring the appointment of Chief Jon Murad to the Burlington City Council for confirmation at its June 5 meeting.
A similar attempt last year ended in a 6-6 tie.
“Burlington needs and deserves a strong and reliable leader in our Police Department and we have been fortunate to have one in Chief Jon Murad for the last three years,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “I am grateful that the Chief has stepped up during these historically challenging times that have caused so many officers to step away. We need his leadership in order to continue to make public safety progress in what is sure to be a challenging year ahead. With this second appointment, I am making clear that Chief Murad continues to have my full confidence and support.”
“Every day it’s a privilege to work with the people who comprise the Burlington Police Department, and every day I’m humbled to lead them as best as I’m able on behalf of all our neighbors. I am eager to do more to bring the people we serve into our work too, so that we can all move forward to rebuild together, for a community that is safe and fair, everywhere for everyone,” said Murad. “I am honored by and grateful to the Mayor for his trust, and I am beyond thankful to my wife, Vonnie, and our children for their support. It’s been a long three years for my family, but for the BPD and for Burlington, too. We’ve all accomplished so much together, but the work is far from over. I’m looking forward to continuing the journey we’ve been on at the BPD—a journey of growth, innovation, and rebuilding.”
“Chief Murad has done a very good job as Chief during very challenging years,” said Mayor Peter Clavelle. “Moreover, the Mayor is responsible for hiring and firing department heads, and Mayor Weinberger has done both. The City Council’s role is to confirm appointments unless Councilors find an appointee unqualified. In this case, I am concerned that the Council failing to confirm Chief Murad would not only be wrong, it would compromise the City’s ability to maintain public safety.”
“The City’s ability to provide public safety is a concern for everyone, residents and business alike. Appointing a permanent Chief of Police, one who can serve with the support of the community, is critical at this time,” said Kelly Devine, Director of the Burlington Business Association. “It is critical to the rebuilding of our police department. It is critical to the future direction of the department. And, it is critical to the future of the downtown and city we all love. The BBA and its 300+ members, offer its strong support for the appointment of a permanent Chief of Police.”
Also lending their support for the Chief’s confirmation were numerous community leaders including Mayor Peter Clavelle, former City Councilors Chip Mason and Kurt Wright, former Burlington Police Commissioners Michele Asch and Shireen Hart, former Burlington Police Chief and UVM Chief Safety and Compliance Officer Michael Shirling, UVM Chief of Police Tim Bilodeau, Thato Ratsebe and Jacob Bogre of AALV, Lake Champlain Executive Director Cathy Davis, Howard Center Street Outreach Team Leader Tammy Boudah, Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Tanya Benosky, Executive Director of the Greater Burlington Multicultural Resource Center Patrick Brown, along with City of Burlington Department Heads, members of the Burlington Business Association, members of the Queen City Police Foundation, and numerous members of the Burlington Police Department.
Chief Murad’s accomplishments at the Burlington Police Department include:
· Worked with the Committee to Review Policing Practices and then the Police Commission to draft a cutting-edge use-of-force policy that ultimately served as the template for a statewide policy adopted by the legislature.
· Led the Department through a staffing crisis, including developing and implementing the Public Safety Continuity Plan to augment unarmed, non-sworn roles in the department including Community Service Officers and Community Service Liaisons.
· Oversaw the development of the Crisis, Advocacy, Intervention Programs team which coordinates social service approaches to public safety.
· Developed and implemented the rebuilding plan to restore the officer headcount to 87 over 4 years.
· Improved transparency for the Department through use-of-force reporting, increasing the number of directives available online, making data and current news within the department available to the public, in monthly Chief’s reports to Police Commission, implementing a new policy to proactively release body-worn camera footage of use-of-force incidents and significantly expanding the BPD’s “Transparency & Data” webpage.
· Under his leadership, the BPD has arrested suspects in over 80% of the shootings in the last two years and closed the 50-year cold case in the murder of Rita Curran.
Chief Murad was born in Burlington and raised in Underhill and earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard. Following graduation, he worked as an actor and writer in Los Angeles and as an editorial assistant at Newsweek Magazine. He was drawn to law enforcement following the 9/11 attacks to serve his community through public safety.
Chief Murad began his career in the NYPD in 2005 as a police officer in the Bronx, performing patrol, before serving as a detective in the Office of Management Analysis and Planning. He later obtained a master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School. He was promoted to sergeant and served in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood. In 2014, he was promoted to Assistant Commissioner and oversaw efforts to build trust between the NYPD and the public, leading a 49-person department responsible for communications. Chief Murad then served as Chief of Staff to Bill Bratton at Teneo Risk for two years before returning to public safety to join the Burlington Police Department as Deputy Chief.
Mayor Weinberger appointed Murad as Acting Chief in the summer of 2020 and first brought the Chief’s appointment before the City Council for confirmation in January 2022 which resulted in a 6-6 tied vote. Following the deadlock, the Mayor announced the Chief would serve as the Department’s leader indefinitely, saying at the time: “Chief Murad will be Burlington’s Chief so long as he continues to serve as a full partner with the Administration and the Burlington community in forging progress on our urgent public safety challenges and advancing police transformation. It is my sincere hope that at some point soon, a majority of the Council joins us in this critical work.”