Former D.C. police chief Isaac Fulwood Jr. has been confirmed by the Senate for a seat on the U.S. Parole Commission, which has responsibility for prisoners sentenced in federal and D.C. courts.
Fulwood, one of the best known figures in local law enforcement, was born in the District, and during 28 years on the police force, rose through the ranks to the top position before retiring in 1992.
His new job involves deciding whether to release eligible inmates from prison and setting conditions of supervision afterward.
Fulwood, 63, was confirmed during a late-night weekend session that lasted into Sunday morning.
In an interview last night, he described himself as gratified by the presidential appointment and the Senate confirmation, and he added that he looks forward to the "brand new challenge" of commission service.
On the commission, he said, he hopes to "look at things very, very closely, to be objective and to make sound judgments."
Fulwood was recommended by Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) at the request of Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and senior Judiciary Committee Democrat Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.).
"We recommended him because of his law enforcement background, his knowledge of the criminal justice system and his commitment to public service. We believe all that makes him very well qualified to serve in this capacity," said Sarah Feinberg, Daschle's spokeswoman.
A 1997 law phased out the old D.C. Parole Board and gave its responsibilities to the U.S. Parole Commission. Officials said the commission has jurisdiction over about 11,000 D.C. convicts.
Fulwood is to serve a six-year term. He replaces Michael J. Gaines, a former panel chairman and Clinton administration appointee who resigned last year.
After stepping down as police chief, Fulwood worked in the city's youth initiative and became an adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia. Fulwood is regarded as particularly knowledgeable about social conditions in a variety of D.C. neighborhoods.
It was not immediately clear last night when Fulwood would take his seat on the commission, which has offices on Friendship Boulevard, just over the D.C. border in Montgomery County.
He said he would go to the commission's offices next week for an official briefing and orientation.
The base salary for parole commission members is $128,200, according to a reference book that lists high-level federal pay rates.