FERGUSON, Mo. — Troy Doyle is now in command of a police force thrust into an international spotlight after the a former Ferguson Police officer shot and killed unarmed Michael Brown in August 2014.
Doyle was sworn in as the city’s police chief on Monday afternoon in a packed Ferguson City Council chamber.
“To the dedicated men and women of the [department,] I want to ensure you that you have my unwavering support – as long as you are doing the right thing,” he said to the applause of many of those in attendance.
“I plan to take a proactive approach to reducing crime. It is important to cooperate with neighboring municipalities.”
Doyle, who joins the Ferguson Police Department after years with the St. Louis County Police Department, said he will build “robust relationships” within the department and with other partners to address crime.
He said crime “leads to business closing and families feeling unsafe.”
He said his department would go after “those committing crimes,” and “will not engage in racial profiling.”
He said he would take “a data driven approach” to solving crime problems and would be introducing new software to analyze crime patterns and assist police officers do their respective jobs more successfully.
“He is the right person, with the right resume, at the right time,” said St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell who attended the swearing in. “I like the trajectory I’m seeing [in Ferguson.]"
Kenneth Gregory, who became the county’s first Black police chief in January 2022 after serving as interim six months, called Doyle’s hiring “a great day for Ferguson. Everything you heard him say today comes straight from his heart.”
The citizens are looking for their government to keep them safe from speeding traffic and crimes," Ferguson Mayor Ella Jones said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Chief Doyle's service record and commitment to safety personifies the commitment to the wellbeing and safety that we are working to achieve for all the citizens in Ferguson."
She said that Doyle’s experience as Jennings Police Chief were important when the city was considering him for the position. Doyle has also been supervisor of the county jail and its North County precinct.
He takes over a police department following the consent decree that settled a lawsuit between Ferguson and the U.S. Department of Justice.
The department must continue making reforms after findings that it discriminated against Black residents following the Brown killing.
It will not be an easy task, but it’s one that one must undertake to ensure that our community is safe and secure,” Doyle said.
In a somewhat unusual request, Doyle implored the media to “not focus on all the negative aspects.’
“Seek out positive stories [that] show the city is moving in the right direction,” he said.
Doyle said he would establish a “Chief’s Committee,” which will meet monthly.
“Your opinions matter,” he said.
“Again, I want to express my deep gratitude and unwavering dedication to the Ferguson Police Department.”
Doyle has a pending discrimination lawsuit filed two years ago against the County. He alleges he was passed over for a promotion to chief of police, a position instead given to a white woman, former Chief Mary Barton
He had served in the county department since April 1992, and received promotions to the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant and captain. He had been a lieutenant colonel since 2014.
The St. Louis American reported that Doyle claimed that Page influenced the police board to pass him over for police chief because Doyle is Black due to pressure from Sam Page’s campaign donors. Page said he preferred Doyle for chief but the police board, whose members he appoints, is independent.
County Counselor Beth Orwick countered by saying that Doyle’s attorney Jerome Dobson tried to extort a $3.5 million settlement for Doyle by offering to withhold the discrimination claim if Page settled before the primary. Dobson did make that offer in a voice mail to Page’s chief of staff.