City Names New Chief

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August 01, 2018

To Be First Black Man To Hold Position
Daily News-Record     8/1/18
HARRISONBURG — Last year, Harrisonburg City Council appointed its first black female mayor, Deanna Reed.
Earlier this year, Reed helped select the city’s first black city manager, Eric Campbell.
On Tuesday, Campbell tapped Eric English as the city’s first black police chief.
“My goal was to pick the best police chief I could find nationally, and I did that. Ironically, he’s an African-American,” said Campbell during a press conference at City Hall. “If it sets a trend, then fantastic.”
English, a 28-year veteran of the Richmond Police Department, will start on Sept. 10. He will earn $120,000 annually.
In March, council agreed to pay The Novak Consulting Group, a Cincinnati-based business management consulting firm, $27,000 to coordinate the search process. Campbell, who initially told council that 67 people applied for the position by the June 8 deadline, updated the total to 85. The consulting group narrowed the pool to 11 applicants. Their resumes were passed on to Campbell, who chose five to interview in front of a panel made up of a variety of community members. He said the choice became obvious.
“During this process. Chief English demonstrated a strong leadership style,
a passion for community policing, developing officers for advancement and collaborating with businesses as well as institutions of higher education ... all traits which will position the Harrisonburg Police Department and city of Harrisonburg for future success,” Campbell said.
English fills a vacancy created when Stephen Monticelli resigned Dec. 1 after five years as Harrisonburg police chief.
In November, the city tapped retired Albemarle County Police Chief Steve Sellers to serve as Harrisonburg Police Department’s interim chief. Sellers, who attended the press conference to welcome English, stepped down on Tuesday.
Campbell, who thanked Sellers for his service, said HPD’s three captains will run the department until English arrives next month.
English, 51, comes to the Friendly City with nearly three decades of experience, all with Richmond.
He earned an undergraduate degree in criminal justice and sociology from the University of Richmond in 1989 and a graduate degree in public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2002. English joined RPD shortly after he graduated from Richmond. He started in patrol and worked his way up the ladder. In 2011, he was promoted to deputy chief, overseeing the operations division, which consisted of roughly 400 officers. In Harrisonburg, English will oversee 112 sworn officers and 26 civilian positions. He will earn $120,000a year. English said one of his top priorities is to build relationships with the community. He said that means he wants to be approachable in public.
“Although it will be a short time later before I actually assume command, my relationship building and my collaboration begins right now,” he said. English plans to attend the National Night Out festivities in Harrisonburg next Tuesday. During the press conference, Reed said she was impressed by what English has to offer. “When the worst happens, we have the very best men and women in uniform
to protect our residents and re-establish calm,” she said. “I know Chief English will not only continue that legacy, but will lead our police department to new levels of success and service.”
Although English achieved success in a Richmond police uniform, he might be better known for wearing a Richmond Spiders uniform. He was on the 1988-89 basketball team that won the NIT championship.
While the James Madison University Dukes were longtime foes, he plans to embrace the purple and gold.
“I will have some JMU clothes on very soon,” said English, joking that he won’t be wearing any Spiders gear in public.

Sgt. Daniel Claxton (right) congratulates Harrisonburg Police Department’s new police chief, Eric English, following a ceremony announcing the change of command at City Hall on Tuesday.

Eric English, a 28 year veteran of the Richmond Police Department, will be Harrisonburg’s first black police chief.

Harrisonburg Police Department officers congratulate Police Chief Eric English after a ceremony announcing his selection for the top HPD post Tuesday.