David Zack, the current police chief of Cheektowaga, New York, will be the next police chief for the city of Asheville. City manager Debra Campbell made the announcement via e-mail Monday afternoon.
Zack has served as police chief of Cheektowaga the last nine years. The suburban Buffalo town has a similar population (88,000) to Asheville. He beat out two other final candidates for the post - Fayetteville, NC assistant police chief James Nolette, and Cincinnati, OH police captain Maurice Robinson. All three met with the public in Asheville at a special meeting in December.
Zack's first day on the job will be February 4th. “Chief Zack’s background in building relationships with the community and years of experience as a chief will enable him to seamlessly transition into the role of Asheville’s Police Chief,” said Campbell in the email. In the same email, Zack said he is honored to have been selected to lead the City of Asheville Police Department. “I am excited to be moving to such a welcoming and compassionate city. I promise to work hard to ensure the police department serves and protects this community in a manner that reflects its values.”
Zack will replace Chris Bailey, who only served as police chief in Asheville for two months before resigning on September 11th, 2019 for personal reasons. Bailey's abrupt departure followed the tumultuous three and half year tenure of Tammy Hooper as police chief. Hooper instituted a number of reforms she said were sticking at the time of her resignation. But her time as chief will also be remembered for an incident that shook the entire city - the choking and shocking of an unarmed black pedestrian by an Asheville police officer in August 2017. It didn't come to light until six months later when video footage of it was leaked to the Asheville Citizen-Times. The officer involved, Chris Hickman, resigned from force and was eventually charged with felony assault. He avoided jail time through restorative justice plea agreement. Then Asheville city manager Gary Jackson was also fired as the fallout from the incident intensified.