Alexandria Police Chief transitions to Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety position as part of SafeALEX plan

In the past several years here at home, epidemic violence and the breakdown of our families across America are at our front door. The City of Alexandria sees explosive domestic violence and unpredictable, reckless youth crime. We need you; we need community-driven public safety.

Read the Plan:

1. Solve Rates and Crime. Our investigative teams solve violent crime. We are sending out our public safety teams in new ways, addressing issues fast and with new vigor and commitment. We are proud of our investigators. We need community help to prevent these crimes and aid in property crime. Property crime and other issues ultimately lead to worse or violent crime. If you heard in the past that we cannot talk about property crime, report it. That is intolerable.

2. Other Law Enforcement and Allied Public Safety. This is the subject of no less than three of the community summit meetings in the Plan, released March 15, 2023. Read the Plan. The police cannot solve every issue; it takes us all.

In the criminal justice system, solving crime quickly and dealing with it properly, after the fact, are critical, even playing roles in future prevention—think reentry and skills development. But, making the proper arrest, completing the investigation, and finding the facts to support our justice system’s actions, while a critical City police role, cannot be considered true prevention at the level we need. Every citizen has a fundamental civil right to be secure and safe. While the causes of crime may be multi-factorial, we cannot allow violence to rule our City. Prevention is key.

3. Prevention. Prevention is the goal of great departments, while solving crime and meting out justice are close followers. Civilianization of departments with new practices and skill sets, in allied fashion to traditional policing, are paramount. Read the Plan. Prevention, separation of oversight to create better practice, and holding all involved in the criminal justice system accountable are drivers of public safety effectiveness. Speaking of effective police leaders and investigators, one of our best is Alexandria Police Chief Ronney Howard. Chief Howard is not leaving; he is stepping up.

“Chief Howard has provided notable, topnotch investigative smarts to this City. He has been for his entire career a leader in our police department. I find him uniquely qualified for leading, with our Commissioner, our changing model of modern police services,” said Mayor Jacques Roy. “I established on day one, two, and three with him—my intent is to move forward together and make his successes a blessing to the City. We have been friends and colleagues a long time, and shared some memorable moments over many years. My trusted leadership team led by our Commissioner, Patrick VanDyke, consider Chief Howard a ‘great friend’ in the service. They, and other dutiful officers, stand with Chief Howard in the proverbial gap,” continued Mayor Roy. “The Chief will be helping to craft our new response to better prevention, separation of oversight to create better practice, and accountability—Advocacy, Policy, and Discipline. I offered and the Chief accepted the Directorship over Public Safety Special Services.”

The Chief will remain on the job and transition to deputy commissioner of public safety, and this appreciated and qualified policing professional will create and head up the:

  • office of Gun Violence,
  • office of Independent Audit and Internal Affairs for public safety,
  • offices of Juvenile Services, Focused Deterrence, and Organized Crime, and
  • increased role as a liaison to other law enforcement for optimizing interagency and interoperability.

4. Focused Deterrence. These intelligence-led policing activities increase neighborhood-led crime prevention and participation in the solutions to City problems. The tracking of illegal guns, particularly in the hands of juveniles, is paramount to stem the epidemic of gun violence within the youth community.