Salem Police Chief retiring after almost 40 years of service

Salem Police Chief retiring after almost 40 years of service (Image 1) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

SALEM (WSLS 10) -  Salem Police Chief Jeff Dudley retires this month after nearly four decades of service.

He was named police chief in August 2009. Dudley started at the department as a dispatcher when he was 19-years old just a few months after graduating from Northside High School.

He's seen a lot of changes since then. When Dudley started people couldn't dial 911. They printed stickers for people to put on their phones with the number to call in case of emergency.

He's worked as an officer and detective; a job he says he would do again.

Dudley investigated two of Salem's biggest murder cases in the 1980's when Barbara West was killed by her husband, and when "Dennis Wayne Eaton" killed four people including Virginia State Trooper Jerry Hines.  

He's had some unusual cases too when a family of bears were in a tree on East Main Street.

Former Salem City Manager Randy Smith worked with Dudley and says he led by example.

"He is the only one that the city has ever had that came up through the ranks as he did and performed jobs at every level including volunteering on the rescue squad. He's the only person who's unique in that way that he worked his way up through every single rung of the ladder there was," said Dudley.

When retirement starts Chief Dudley plans to travel with his wife. They both love the beach and plan to drive to Alaska.