Roanoke selects acting police chief

Search for Jones’ successor continues

ROANOKE, Va. – The city of Roanoke has selected its acting police chief.

Deputy Chief Chester R. Smith, Jr. will serve as the city’s acting police chief, starting once Police Chief Tim Jones officially retires on Jan. 31.

Smith has been on the city’s police department since 1985 and is currently in charge Uniform Operations Division. A national search for Jones’ successor continues, and Smith is in the running for the permanent chief position.

Roanoke City Manager Bob Cowell said of the 30 applicants for the position, nine have been selected to move forward in the interview process. Cowell said Deputy Chief Smith was the right person to lead the department through this transition.

“Chester is a local, he’s from here he’s worked his way all the way up from police officer to deputy chief and certainly has earned the opportunity, so that was one principle reason. The other is I really want the interim to come from one of the two deputy chiefs," Cowell said.

Smith is known in the community and has a long tenure with the department. Cowell said Smith’s performance as acting chief would likely be considered as he progresses through the interview process, much like any other applicant would reference his or her previous experience leading a department.

Cowell said Smith has earned the position to lead the department for the time being.

“I would not have considered anyone from outside the organization it was always going to be one of the two deputy chiefs serving in that role, and again because of those reasons I just mentioned Chester is just obviously the right choice at this point," Cowell said.

Smith graduated from Radford University and trained at the National Criminal Justice Command College, the FBI-LEEDA Executive Leadership Training Program, the Senior Management Institute for Police and the Professional Executive Leadership School at the University of Richmond, according to a city spokesperson.

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