Charlottesville Police Department

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Mission statement

"The Department's mission is to provide the citizens of the City of Charlottesville with a modern and professional police department which will protect life and property; preserve law and order; enforce criminal, traffic, and regulatory laws; and, provide essential public safety services to our community."

Divisions and Units[1]

  • Support Services Division
    • Investigations Bureau
      • Forensics Unit
    • Neighborhood Services Bureau
      • School Resource Officer Unit
      • Traffic Unit|Traffic Unit
      • Crime Prevention Unit
    • Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force
  • Field Operations Division
    • Patrol Bureau
    • S.W.A.T.
    • Crisis Negotiation Team
  • Administrative Services Bureau
    • Crime Analysis Unit
    • Staff Development and Accreditation Unit
    • Internal Affairs Unit
    • Information and Management Services
    • Technical Investigative Support Unit


List of former police chiefs

The town officially became a city in 1888, when it incorporated and annexed surrounding land

Chief of Police Served Years of Service
# John Waters 1890-1898 8
# Spottswood M. Keller 1898-1902 4
# Frank P. Farrish 1902-1902* 1
# Thomas A. Trice 1902-1914
# D. C. Grady 1914-1917
# Z. L. Damron 1917-1925
# A. L. Henderson 1918
# Lindsay Leafe
# Maurice F. Greaver 1926 - 1953 24
# James E. Adams 14
# Connie O. Durham 3
# John DeKoven Bowen 23
# John M. Wolford 3
# Julian W. “Buddy” Rittenhouse 4
# Timothy J. Longo, Sr 2001-2016 15
# Alfred S. Thomas, Jr 2016-2018 2
# RaShall M. Brackney 2018-present

Recent Timeline of Charlottesville Chief of Police appointments



  • December 18: Serving less than two years, Police Chief Al Thomas resigned. The city issued a release this Monday afternoon that said Thomas would be retiring, effective immediately. At the last regular meeting of the Charlottesville City Council (2016-2017), City Manager Maurice Jones's announced choice of Deputy Chief Gary Pleasants as acting chief until an interim one could be named, drew complaints. Speakers at the council blasted the decision. “I think this is unacceptable,” said councilor-elect Nikuyah Walker. “There is no trust here.”


In the council-manager form of government, the Chief of Police reports directly to the City Manager. In recent years, Council has taken an advisory role in appointing the Chief of Police (and the City Attorney).

Strategic Goals

The Charlottesville Police Department has several key strategic goals as depicted in the 2009 Strategic Plan[5]:

Operational strategies

  1. Reduction of Open Air Drug Activity and Drug/Gun Related Violence
  2. Reduce Participation in Street Level Gangs and mitigate the level of violence and criminal behavior associated with gang activity
  3. Helping to sustain safe and healthy neighborhoods through collaborations, engagement and problem solving
  4. Creating positive opportunities for our youth while reducing the likelihood of youth related crime and violence
  5. Strengthening public trust

Internal strategies

  1. To provide a high level of customer service to both internal and external customers, and to enhance our ability to measure customer service
  2. Create and sustain a healthy police department
  3. To recruit and retain the very best candidate that we are capable of identifying
  4. To develop stronger management and leadership opportunities for the entire organization
  5. To develop a stronger infrastructure of supporting resources within the department

In the news

In 2010, the police department began charging $150 for escorting funeral processions[6].

Mall Ambassador program

Originally created at the end of 2012 by the Charlottesville City Council (2012-2013) as a way to provide more "eyes on the street" to deter crime on the Downtown Mall and to be a resource for tourists. On March 7, 2016, the Charlottesville City Council (2016-2017) eliminated the program from the budget and it ended on June 30, 2016. [7]Over a three-year period, the city planned to hire 22 new officers to provide more law enforcement coverage.[8]

Citizen review

Since 2008, the police have been overseen by a Police Citizen’s Advisory Panel. However, the effectiveness of this board has been called into question. Council discussed a new independent panel on November 20, 2017. [9] [10] Look at the Civilian Review Board page for more information.


The police headquarters on Market Street has a moldy basement. [11]


Organized in 1888, the police Department in 1969-70 had a budget of approximately $640,000, a staff of 65 and was supported entirely by City tax funds.[12]


  1. "Charlottesville Police Department Organizational Chart." Chart. Charlottesville Police Department. Charlottesville Police Department, 21 July 2009. Web. 20 Oct. 2009. <>.
  2. Web. Thomas is Charlottesville’s first black police chief, Lisa Provence, News Article, April 20, 2016, retrieved April 18, 2021.
  3. Web. Brackney officially chosen as Charlottesville police chief, Chris Suarez, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, May 21, 2018, retrieved May 28, 2018.
  4. Web. Brackney sworn in as Charlottesville police chief, Chris Suarez, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, June 18, 2018, retrieved June 18, 2021.
  5. Charlottesville Police Department Strategic Planning Document. Rep. Charlottesville Police Department, 3 Mar. 2009. Web. 20 Oct. 2009. <>.
  6. Strong, Ted. "City Police Start Charging for Funeral Procession Escorts | Daily Progress." Home | Daily Progress. 30 Aug. 2010. Web. 30 Aug. 2010. <>.
  7. Web. Mall ambassador program cut in proposed city budget, Lauren Berg, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, March 7, 2016, retrieved December 31, 2016.
  8. Web. Timeline: Major Downtown Mall developments, Staff reports, News Article, The Daily Progress, retrieved September 19, 2020.
  9. Web. City Council considers creation of an independent police citizen’s review board, Geremia Di Maro, News Article, Cavalier Daily, Charlottesville, Virginia, November 25, 2017, retrieved November 26, 2017.
  10. Web. Council moves forward with police review board, Chris Suarez, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, November 23, 2017, retrieved November 26, 2017.
  11. Web. Charlottesville police-court building has mold, leaks, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, November 18, 2019, retrieved November 20, 2019. Print. November 18, 2019 page A1.

External links