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Purcellville Town Council votes ‘no confidence’ in police chief

Purcellville Mayor Kwasi Fraser, members of Town Council and police officers joined together at a special council meeting Nov. 1. Times-Mirror/Karen Graham
After a special closed meeting of Purcellville Town Council Wednesday night, the council voted unanimously “no confidence” in Chief of Police Cynthia McAlister.

Town officials say seven Purcellville police officers have filed formal complaints against McAlister, and investigators have determined that "several town policies, procedures, and Police Department General Orders were violated."

An outside attorney hired by the town, Patrice Clair, and a human resources consultant, Georgia Nuckolls, assisted in reviewing the allegations.

“Given the evidence the HR investigator has shown us and briefed us on, and acknowledging the work of interim town manager Alex Vanegas, we show solidarity with our police officers and take a no confidence vote in the chief,” said Mayor Kwasi Fraser.

Vanegas is expected to provide a final decision on McAlister's employment Thursday.

McAlister was hired in 2015 and has been on leave for the past two months. She came to Purcellville after retiring from the Fairfax County Police Department. She has 35 years of police experience working in various fields of police operations and is the first woman to serve as chief of police in Purcellville.

Lt. Joe Schroeck is currently serving as the acting chief.

Mayor Fraser said the town plans to institute an Office of Police Accountability to provide for civilian oversight of the complaint process and full access to the police department.

Once enacted, the committee will include town personnel, local residents and members of the business community. Town management plans to have an officer assigned to each section of town to help build relationships and “strengthen the bond between the police department and the citizens they serve.”

“We appreciate the courage that you all had to come forward, and you protect us as we sleep. If there are any other concerns please let us know,” Fraser said to the officers.


The citizens of Purcellville have “no Confidence” in the Mayor and Town Council.

I missed the reason for these actions.  What policy? What complaints?  Is this about taking too long for a lunch break, something else or just fake news?

Support the councils decision, not impressed with Interim Town Manager.

Realizing there have been many resident confidence issues with the Mayor and Town Council, it would seem that there would be a FOIA check of the officers complaints, and an interview of the ex police chief, if possible, to hear her side of the story, so that this isn’t a one-sided small Town story. There are many things going very wrong in this sleepy little Town that seems to be on the verge of getting much, much BIGGER and frustrating a significant amount of residents. This story has folks asking more questions than providing answers.

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