James City police chief retires after 34 years

Chief Emmett Harmon
Chief Emmett Harmon

JAMES CITY — At the end of the year, James City County’s first full-time officer is hanging up his uniform.

Police Chief Emmett Harmon, 57, has spent 38 years in law enforcement, 34 of them with James City, and he’s credited with bringing the small department a very long way. He could have retired seven years ago, but there were things he wanted to do.

“This is the way I would prefer to go out,” he said, reflecting on the things he has accomplished during his tenure and how well the police department runs today.

Harmon said he’d had the idea of joining the force since middle school. While most departments won’t hire until age 21, Harmon said he joined up during a brief window in which Suffolk was hiring younger.

From there he moved to Newport News and finally to James City, where he became its first officer.

“When I found out that they were forming a new police department in James City County, that was really where I wanted to do police work,” he said. “That was home for me.”

He said he worked patrol, SWAT, community services and countless other jobs within the department before being named chief in 2005.

Since then the department has grown from 75 officers to 93, added a marine patrol and a dive team and taken over working its own vehicle accidents because Harmon felt the department should handle them. He also oversaw moving the police department out of cramped quarters on Route 5 to a new building in Lightfoot.

“He’s been a very effective chief,” said County Administrator Robert Middaugh. ” I think he’s built a very strong department.”

James City Fire Chief Tal Luton said Harmon has been a close personal friend and the latest in a line of great police chiefs. He said Harmon has helped build a close working relationship between the departments that he hopes will continue.

Investigator William T. Gibbs has worked with Harmon 30 years and said he knows his chief wouldn’t ask anything of him that he wouldn’t do himself.

“He’s always been what I referred to as a police officers’ chief,” he said. “…Like a good commander he’s always looked after his troops.”

Middaugh said they will begin the process of finding Harmon’s successor in the next few weeks. Harmon’s last day will be Dec. 31.

Source Link: http://www.vagazette.com/news/va-vg-harmon-retires-0720-20130719,0,6768449.story

2013 VALEAC Conference – Registration is now open!

valeac-logoOur annual conference this year will be held on October 16th through October 18th
in beautiful downtown Lynchburg at the Holiday Inn located at
601 Main Street (434-528-2500).
In order to help with the increasing costs to hold this event, we will be charging a conference fee of $50.00 per attendee. Payable by check at the door or in advance with a credit card!
The 2013 VALEAC Conference registration fees can now be paid via credit card. The payment box is now on the right side of the screen here: www.vlepsc.org. This has been set up so that the person responsible for paying the registration fee(s) does not have to be logged in. There is a $1.75 additional charge per person to cover the credit card transaction fees. If you elect to pay by check prior to or the morning of the conference, it is simply $50.00/person. For those paying by check, there is an invoice attached to this message for your convenience.

Even though you pay the registration fees, you still need to complete online registration for the conference at:www.vlepsc.org/conference 

Annual dues will also be set up with this option.

If you have any questions, please contact Don Sloan, VALEAC Treasurer at: dsloan@lynchburgva.gov

A special conference room rate of $80.00 per night plus tax is available from
Tuesday, October 15th through Thursday, October 17th.
(Group Code for rate is “ALC/Government”)
Breakfast and lunch will be provided along with valuable presentations,
training, activities, and the opportunity to meet great people!
If you would like to participate in a committee for our conference in the area of
Hospitality, Activities, Training, or Fund Raising, but have missed previous sign up notices, please contact one of your VALEAC representatives:
James Cox, President – jcox@galaxva.com
Bobby Mawyer, Vice President – rwmawyer@comcast.net
Don Sloan, Treasurer – dsloan@lynchburgva.gov
Deputy Barbara Barrett, Secretary – bbarrett@cityofchesapeake.net
Dave Daigneault, Immediate Past President – Dave.Daigneault@jamescitycountyva.gov

Dumfries’ new police chief looks forward

Dumfries has a new police chief, and she plans to stay awhile. Chief Rebecca Edwards, the department's second-in-command for the past 18 months, took her new position last week when Chief Rob Forker retired.
Dumfries has a new police chief, and she plans to stay awhile. Chief Rebecca Edwards, the department’s second-in-command for the past 18 months, took her new position last week when Chief Rob Forker retired.

“I don’t have plans to go anywhere else. I think there is a lot of opportunity here. I like the town. I like the people,” Chief Rebecca Edwards said. “The police department mission will stay the same. I want the transition to be seamless. There shouldn’t be any bumps. I want to keep the same high level of services that we have had.”

“When Chief Forker was appointed chief, he let it be known there would be a limit to his tenure here,” said Dumfries Town Manager Dan Taber. Forker had already retired once from the Prince William County police Department and wanted to return to retirement.

Taber made the recommendation to the Dumfries Town Council to promote Edwards. She was approved unanimously.

“Over the past year and a half that she has been the captain of the Dumfries Police Department, she has performed in an outstanding manner. She has gained the confidence and respect of the community and the town council,” Taber said.

“There is no reason to believe she won’t continue to move the Dumfries Police Department forward in as professional a manner as possible.”

Edwards has about 25 years of law enforcement experience.

Before taking the Dumfries position, she worked for eight years at the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office. When she left in 2011 following the election of a new sheriff, she was a major and a division commander.

“I knew being third in command, I was not going to survive a transition,” she said.

She also had worked her way up from deputy to a division commander of the town of Fishers Police Department in Indiana.

“I’ve been blessed. I have had a lot of really good opportunities and really good mentors but I’ve also worked hard,” she said.

Before applying for the Dumfries position, Edwards said she didn’t know much about the town or the controversy that plagued its police department in 2010.

Within six months of that year, the longtime police chief retired, a senior officer was fired, another senior officer resigned one day after being placed on suspension, and another officer resigned when he learned the findings of an internal investigation into the town force.

“I did know there had been quite a bit of transition and I knew in general they were rebuilding,” Edwards said.

She said she looks forward, not back.

Edwards applied for the Dumfries job, met with Forker and did her research.

“After talking to him, I could see a lot of positive changes,” Edwards said. “They were trying to do the right thing and be consistent.”

She took the job and liked what she saw in the department. Officers spent a great deal of time interacting with residents and participating in town events. The department had good equipment and the officers reflected the diversity in the town.

“They were moving forward,” she said. “I came to appreciate the officers who were here and the people in the town.

“I think we are in very good shape but I look forward to the opportunities and challenges still out there,” she said.

She wants to explore new programs and activities to continue community interaction.

Edwards also would like to see her officers acquire specialty skills and be more involved in casework aside from taking initial reports.

She wants to see the department fully staffed with 11 sworn officers.

“I want to ensure we maintain and improve,” Edwards said.

“We all are working together. We have different positions. We have different roles,” she said. “This is not Becca’s police department. The accomplishments that we will have will be as a team.”

Source Link: InsideNova.com — http://www.insidenova.com/news/local/dumfries/dumfries-new-police-chief-looks-forward/article_9839db4a-e9c6-11e2-9f3b-001a4bcf887a.html