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Mesa names new police chief after monthslong search

(Twitter Photo/MPDAC_Cost)

PHOENIX – The city of Mesa ended a monthslong nationwide search for police chief, naming Kenneth Cost to the post Monday.

Cost replaces Ramon Batista, who stepped down in November after months of criticism about his leadership from his officers. Batista held the job for 2½ years.

Cost had served as interim department leader since Batista’s departure.

Cost, who was previously assistant chief, steps into an office where 95% of the union members surveyed in 2019 said they had no confidence in Batista.

The Mesa Police Association took offense at the way Batista managed multiple use-of-force cases that led to an FBI investigation.

Union membership felt Batista prematurely convicted officers in the court of public opinion and destroyed morale in the department.

Nearly a year before the survey, Batista had announced two independent investigations after several officer made headlines for a series of aggressive arrests that were caught on camera.

“I’m angry, and I’m deeply disappointed by what I saw in those videos. It’s unacceptable, and it needs to stop immediately,” Batista said at a June 8, 2018, press conference.

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