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Chief of Police – City of Fairfax, Virginia


The Position

Fairfax’s next Chief of Police will lead a department of highly-respected police officers and civilian staff in a community that supports and engages with its public safety personnel. In addition to its historic downtown center, the City of Fairfax offers all the best small-town amenities, where people help their neighbors, exceptional events bring residents together, and a variety of small businesses contribute to the city’s unique character. The diligence and dedication of the City of Fairfax Police Department further support the excellent quality of life within Fairfax, as the city is ranked the sixth safest of all communities in the Commonwealth of Virginia by the National Council for Home Safety and Security and the second safest by Safehome.

The Chief of Police reports directly to the City Manager and manages the overall operations of the department. The Chief is responsible for planning, administering, and staffing all departmental activities and for the training of its personnel. The Chief oversees the enforcement of all laws within the city’s legal jurisdiction and ensures efficient and effective delivery of police services to residents throughout the community. Fairfax’s Chief of Police also supervises the activity of subordinate staff in the department, provides feedback and general direction to staff, and investigates complaints of misconduct and substandard service delivery.

This position works closely with the City Manager, Mayor and Council, residents, businesses, and local media sources. The Chief makes recommendations regarding the Department’s budget, organizational structure, and policy decisions, and provides updates on crime trends, major incidents, and issues with traffic and parking.

The Chief of Police has six direct reports, including a Deputy Chief; four Captains who oversee Professional Standards, Administrative Services, Field Operations, and Criminal Investigations; and an Administrative Assistant.

The Organization

The city operates under the Council-Manager form of government. The City Manager, the City Clerk, and the City Attorney are all appointed by the City Council. The Mayor and six council members are elected to serve two-year terms on an at-large, non-partisan basis.

The city’s FY 2019 budget is $171M in all funds, $142M of which is the General Fund. The city provides $56M for public education funding for grades K-12. The city provides comprehensive services that include Police, Fire and Rescue, Public Works, Human Services, Parks and Recreation, Planning and Development, Finance, Information Technology, Human Resources, and Cultural Arts. Human services and education are primarily provided via contracts with Fairfax County and Fairfax County Public Schools, respectively. The city operates its own wastewater collection system and contracts with Fairfax County for wastewater treatment. The city obtains its water from Fairfax Water, a regional water utility authority, which operates the system. In addition to the city’s paid fire and rescue employees, the city jointly provides fire and rescue services with the Fairfax Volunteer Fire Department (FVFD). This arrangement is governed by an MOU between the city and the FVFD.

The Department

The City of Fairfax Police Department is authorized for 89 full-time staff (65 sworn and the rest are civilian) and has an FY 2019 general fund budget of $13M. The department is divided into four divisions – Administrative Services, Criminal Investigations, Field Operations, and Professional Standards – each of which is led by a Division Captain. The primary responsibilities of the Field Operations Division include patrol, parking enforcement, motorcycle unit, animal control, and crossing guards, in addition to responding to reported criminal activities, conducting motor vehicle accident investigations, and maintaining consistent enforcement of traffic and criminal laws. The department has four community policing teams, which are all led by one Lieutenant and one Sergeant who coordinate the efforts of a team of officers. Each team is responsible for addressing crime, traffic, and other quality of life issues in their assigned area. The Criminal Investigations Division has detectives focusing on all types of crime and also includes the background investigation function for the department. The Administrative Services Division includes communications (radio and dispatch), records, fleet, IT, and public information. The Professional Standards Divisions serves as internal affairs and oversees training. The Deputy Chief oversees accreditation, budget, policy development, and promotional processes.

The City of Fairfax Police Department is dedicated to enhancing a culture of community engagement through its participation in annual children’s safety events and summer camps, National Night Out, Trick or Treat with a Cop, Coffee with a Cop, Shop with a Cop, and Santa Ride programs. Since 2015, the department has participated in the Fairfax County Public Schools mentoring program, where officers mentor at-risk youth and build relationships with some of the youngest citizens in Fairfax. The Chief’s Advisory Council, which was formed in 1983, operates as an advisory board to the Chief of Police and allows the department and members of the community to discuss issues of mutual concern. Members of the Chief’s Advisory Council represent a cross-section of communities and neighborhoods within the city. The council provides citizens with a venue to voice their opinions on matters relating to public safety and law enforcement services. The department’s officers attend Northern Virginia Regional Justice Academy. The department has an excellent working relationship with Fairfax County.

Experience and Education

The minimum requirements for this position are a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a closely related field and at least ten (10) years of progressively responsible experience in local law enforcement and police administration, with command level experience.

Preferred qualifications include a master’s degree in criminal justice, public administration, or a directly related field and specialized training, such as graduation from the FBI National Academy. A chief with community and business engagement expertise, service in a locality with a diverse population, full-service police department experience, and demonstrated ability to foster future leaders is also preferred.

The Chief of Police must pass an annual physical exam administered by the city.


The position requires residency within a maximum of 60 minutes driving time from city limits.

The Ideal Candidate

The City of Fairfax’s next Chief of Police is a community-oriented policing professional with exceptional communication skills, a commitment to diversity, and a demonstrated ability to bring fair and consistent leadership along with best practices and fresh ideas. The ideal candidate will motivate and inspire personnel, meet with staff regularly to build relationships and instill trust, set clear expectations, and hold personnel accountable for high standards at all levels of the organization. The ideal candidate is a team player who exemplifies professionalism and is committed to providing police services as efficiently and as equitably as possible. He or she will continuously work to improve community-police relations, department morale, retention and recruitment of talented personnel, and police operations.

The next Chief of Police will earn the respect of the community and officers, facilitate a positive work environment that allows for staff development, and involve department personnel in developing both short and long-term goals that align with the city’s vision. He or she is able to make difficult decisions, is resilient in the face of adversity, and understands the unique dynamic associated with “small-town” policing in a metro environment. The ideal candidate will work well with other departments to provide support and help the city achieve its overall goals. He or she will also work collaboratively with public safety professionals in Fairfax County, George Mason University, and other Northern Virginia law enforcement and federal agencies.

This person will be accessible throughout the community and within the department at all levels. The next Chief of Police is an effective leader who will hold him or herself, command staff, officers, and civilian staff to the highest level of personal integrity. The ideal candidate will be fully invested in the City of Fairfax, the department, and the community’s continued success.

The Community

Fairfax is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia, located 16 miles west of Washington, D.C., and is an oasis with a distinct identity in the metro area. Its historic downtown, tree-filled neighborhoods, and small-town feel are treasured by residents. The city was initially incorporated as a town in 1874, having been settled several years earlier by farmers from southeastern Virginia. In 1961, less than one hundred years later, it was incorporated as an independent city.

The City of Fairfax Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, with the most notable landmarks located in the downtown area. Dating back as far as 1799, the twenty-eight buildings within the Historic District include Old Town Hall (1900), Ratcliffe-Allison-Pozer House (1811), and Historic Fairfax County Courthouse (1800). The city owns and operates two other historic districts, including the Fairfax City Cemetery and the 12-acre Civil War Interpretive Center at Historic Blenheim.

As a part of the Metropolitan D. C. area, many Fairfax residents travel by mass transit and other forms of public transportation. The Orange Line of Metro has a stop one mile northeast of city limits and Virginia Railway Express’ Burke Centre station is only three miles southeast of the city. The city-operated CUE Bus, a partnership between the city and George Mason University, and WMATA’s Metrobus serve the city.

Every year, a bevy of exciting events occur within city limits. During the first full weekend of every February, chocolate vendors and enthusiasts gather in Old Town Fairfax for two days of fun-filled festivities. The annual Chocolate Lovers Festival began in 1993 and continues to attract chocolate connoisseurs from around the country. Other annual community events include the Independence Day Celebration, Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts, Rock the Block, Fairfax History Day, Fido Fest, Labor Day Car Show, Fall Festival, and the Festival of Lights and Carols.

The City of Fairfax provides educational programs and services for K-12 for the approximately 3,500 students from the city through a contractual agreement with the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). This agreement is managed by the City of Fairfax School Board and its city school superintendent. While the City of Fairfax School Board owns the land and school facilities, the instructional program and all faculty and staff at the city’s schools are FCPS employees. In 2015, Fairfax High School was named the tenth-best public high school in the Commonwealth of Virginia by U.S. News and World Report. Located on the southern city limit is the main campus of the prestigious George Mason University, a public institution of higher learning that enrolls 36,000 students. With three campuses in Northern Virginia, George Mason is a “tier-one” research institution of national stature and global impact. Northern Virginia Community College, the largest educational institution in the Commonwealth of Virginia, has its main campus three miles east of the city. It enrolls 75,000 students at several campuses in the Northern Virginia region.

Quick Facts

  • Population: 24,097
  • Median Household Income: $104,065
  • Median Age: 40
  • Total Area: 6.3 square miles

Racial/Ethnic Demographics

  • White: 57.2%
  • Asian: 17.3%
  • Hispanic: 17.1%
  • Black: 5.3%
  • Two or More Races or Other: 3.1%


The range is $97,853-$200,601 depending upon qualifications and experience, with a generous benefits package.

How to Apply

Apply Online

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group at and will be kept confidential. Applicants first complete a brief online form and then are prompted to provide one document (Word or PDF) that has a cover letter and resume with salary history. The position is open until filled with the first review of applications to begin November 5, 2018.


Please direct questions to Catherine Tuck Parrish at 513-221-0500 or

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