Virginia Tech Chief of Police Wendell Flinchum will pass the reins of leadership in 2014 announced Sherwood Wilson, vice president for administration.
“Chief Flinchum is an outstanding leader and has been the glue binding the department during some very hard and stressful crime events,” said Wilson. “He is admired and respected by his officers, staff, the university community, and his colleagues in law enforcement. Regretfully, we accept the chief’s decision to start a new chapter in his life.”
Flinchum has been on the Virginia Tech police force for almost 29 years beginning as a patrolman in 1985. He began working as a student employee in the department in 1983 while a Virginia Tech student and never left. He worked his way through the ranks as detective, sergeant, lieutenant and captain, and became chief in 2006.
He has also served on the New River Valley Drug Task Force.
“He’s led with professionalism and dignity through some momentous events including the tragedy of April 16 and the loss of one of their own, Deriek Crouse, among several very high profile and emotionally difficult criminal investigations,” said Wilson.
Flinchum is well known among law enforcement circles. His close relationships with leaders at Virginia State Police, Blacksburg Police, Christiansburg Police, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, among others greatly improved local law enforcement effectiveness.
Under his leadership, the Virginia Tech Police Department received accreditation through the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) in 2010. In 2012, the department received its fifth consecutive re-accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Incorporated.
At Virginia Tech, Flinchum added 11 sworn officer positions and other supporting staff, chaired and implemented a behavioral threat assessment program, and guided many initiatives impacting campus safety and security. He was a persistent advocate for a Public Safety Building which became reality earlier this fall when the police department and Office of Emergency Management moved into the Southgate Center.
Flinchum has served as the president of Virginia Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. He has spoken to police departments around the country and world concerning the events of April 16.
In a note to his department Flinchum said, “There comes a point in our life when we find it is time to transition to a new phase. I have been blessed with a wonderful career, great opportunities and the privilege of working with great people. I am proud of all of you and the work you have done to make [the Virginia Tech Police Department] one of the premier university law enforcement agencies in the country.”
Maj. Kevin Foust, will become acting chief Feb. 1, 2014, while the university conducts a national search for Flinchum’s replacement, said Wilson.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.