Thomas Kennerly Sexton
Date of Birth July 27, 1899
Native of Bluefield, Virginia
Attended the University of Virginia from 1919-1921. Excelled in baseball and basketball while attending UVA.
After college Sexton was employed as Superintendent of a mining company in Corrin, West Virginia.
He was later employed by Hale and Pollard Insurance Company.
Served in the United States Marine Corp attaining the rank of Sergeant.
He was appointed Superintendent of the enforcement unit of the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) by Commissioner T. McCall Frazier in 1930, earning the distinction of being the first so named. The enforcement unit of DMV was later to become the Virginia State Police.
Notable changes during his tenure:
Oversaw a new plan that organized police personnel into platoons and companies throughout the state to better project DMV as in administrative control of the policing function of the agency.
Adopted new hiring standards for Inspectors who later became known as Troopers.
Supervised the movement of DMV offices from the Governor’s Office to new headquarters at 12th and Main Street in Richmond.
Supervised the Yorktown Sesquicentennial in October 1931. The event required that state police personnel work 16 hour days. During the assignment, they were housed in tents, experiencing the life of military troops in the field. In a unique arrangement, state police personnel from the 13 original states provided assistance.
In 1932 all Inspector/Troopers were empowered to enforce the criminal codes along with motor vehicle codes.
Created the Great White fleet (white motorcycles and roadsters).
Created the first extended state police training school (five weeks in duration) and initiated in-service training.
The administration of the newly formed Motor Vehicle Inspection Program was implemented during this tenure.
In August 1933, Sexton dispatched troopers to Wise County to maintain order in connection with a coal strike. Ten thousand miners had been idled over dissatisfaction with low pay and opposition to the National Recovery Act.
Sexton left service with DMV in 1934 when H. B. Nicholas was appointed Superintendent by DMV Director John Q. Rhodes, who had been newly appointed to his position by the governor.
After leaving DMV, he became head of enforcement for the Alcohol Control Board.
Sexton died on January 4, 1937 and is interred in Bluefield, Virginia.
Henry Bigelow Nicholas
Date of Birth July 7, 1903
Native of Buckingham County, Virginia
Prior to his employment with the Division of Motor Vehicles, Nicholas served as a county police officer, however the jurisdiction remains unknown.
On July 1, 1925, he was employed by the Division of Motor Vehicles in the position of Inspector.
He was promoted to Lieutenant with the Division of Motor Vehicles on June 15, 1930.
In 1934, Nicholas was appointed Acting Superintendent of the Enforcement unit of DMV with the rank of Captain by Commissioner John Q. Rhodes.
On March 15, 1938, he was appointed Superintendent of the Enforcement unit of DMV and promoted to Major by Commissioner M. S. Battle.
During his tenures in both his Acting and full roll as Superintendent, the following notable changes and improvements were incurred within the Enforcement unit of DMV, which unit officially became the Department of State Police in 1942
The implementation of a communications system was begun.
A uniform dress for members was adopted.
In 1934, forty-eight patrol vehicles were equipped with radio receivers.
In 1935, authorization was obtained to increase the number of enforcement personnel to 150.
A pistol team was created within the agency.
In 1937, annual in-service training was implemented.
Slacks were adopted for uniform dress in a move from exclusive use of motorcycle oriented apparel and boots.
In 1938, the title State Trooper was adopted for enforcement personnel.
In 1939, administrative headquarters for the state police was relocated from 12th and Main Streets in Richmond to a 65 acre tract along US Route 60 in Chesterfield County where SPHQ is now situated. At that time and until a permanent building was constructed, headquarters operated from a former farm house on site. Construction of the new headquarters building began in an area behind the former farm house.
The first armored car was obtained and based at SPHQ.
By 1941, construction of the new headquarters building was completed and became operational.
The first training school was held in a second floor conference room of the new headquarters in 1941.
Marked vehicles were replaced with unmarked vehicles.
The first radio tower was erected at the SPHQ facility.
Nicholas resigned his position as Superintendent on October 15, 1941.
Following his resignation as Superintendent, he became Chief of Security at the Defense General Supply Center located at Bellwood in Chesterfield County during World War 2.
Following the war, Nicholas relocated to Keysville and established an Automobile and Farm Equipment dealership.
Wife Blanch Perkins Nicholas. The couple had no children.
Nicholas died in 1971 and was interred at Forrest Lawn Cemetery, Richmond.
Charles William Woodson, Jr.
Date of Birth December 22, 1907
Native of Rustburg, Virginia
Graduated High School in Campbell County.
Attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute 1925 – 1926 as engineering major.
Following attendance at VPI, Woodson acquired several trucks and became involved in highway construction. Due to the depression and a related law that limited certain employment practices, he left road construction and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina where he entered the field of real estate with a family member.
Prior to 1932, he returned to Virginia settling in Nelson County where he became employed with Southern Mineral Production Corporation.
He was selected to attend a police training school of the Division of Motor Vehicles at Virginia Beach in May, 1932. While this training was for the position of Inspector, at the time the position had come to be referred to unofficially as “Trooper’ according to archival material.
He graduated from the DMV training school July, 1932 and was officially employed with the agency at that time. During this period, candidates for employment with DMV were not officially hired until having successfully completed the training school.
Upon graduation from DMV training school in 1932, he was assigned to Keysville.
He was promoted to Sergeant in 1938, supervising enforcement operations in the Mecklenburg, Nottoway, and Lunenburg County areas.
In 1938, Woodson was appointed Acting Lieutenant serving the Roanoke area.
Promoted to Captain in 1939, he was first assigned to Wytheville and was then transferred to Richmond and appointed Executive Officer of the state police unit within DMV, forerunner of the Virginia State Police of later years.
In 1941 he was promoted to Major and appointed Superintendent of the state police unit of DMV, Richmond.
In 1942, by action of the Virginia General Assembly, the state police unit of DMV was designated a separate department of government with the title Virginia Department of State Police. Commensurate with this action, Governor Colgate Darden appointed Woodson Superintendent of State Police with the rank of colonel.
Called to military service during World War 2, Colonel Woodson served as a commissioned officer in the Navy from 1944 – 1945, returning as Superintendent of State Police following completion of his military obligations .
During his career with the State Police, he completed specialized courses of study at the University of Oklahoma, University of Maryland, University of Virginia, University of Richmond, and Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth University).
He was a graduate of the FBI National Academy and member of the FBI National Academy Associates.
He completed a course of study at the School of Legal Medicine, Harvard University and became a member of Harvard Association in Police Science.
Subsequent to his appointment as Superintendent by Governor Darden in 1942, Woodson served in the position for twenty six years and in that time was reappointed to the office by six other governors: Tuck in 1946, Battle in 1950, Stanley in 1954, Almond in 1958, Harrison in 1962, and Godwin in 1966. His total years of service stand as a remarkable testament to his abilities and underscore the value he had proven to be to each of these governors in shaping the state police into the much respected and admired organization that it became under his direction. While political acumen may have sustained his position, he was ahead of the times in understanding and emphasizing the importance and very meaning of public service and instilling this through the ranks. For example, members of the department were required to establish residence within their areas of assignment that they might become better known and active in their communities, thereby becoming more effective in providing public services and performing law enforcement duties. To this end, members were encouraged to affiliate with a civic organization and return some of themselves to their communities. In later times, these collective practices become widely known as Community Policing and have been adopted in various forms across the nation. As a result of his leadership, direction, and forward thinking over the years, the department was the recipient of 58 National Awards.
During his tenure as Superintendent, Colonel Woodson implemented a number of changes and improvements in the agency which created it as one of the leading and most respected State Police organizations in the nation. Under his leadership, a virtual culture of dedication to public service and professionalism was instilled which passed from generation to generation of state police members.
Following is a listing of some actions taken under Woodson’s command.
He affected a merit system to aid in the promotion process.
He broadened and strengthened the departments training programs.
A “Trooper’s Pledge” was authored and approved in 1941 which is reduced to memory by each academy class and recited in unison at graduation. The pledge is expressive of an allegiance to duty and public service and a commitment to the Nation and Commonwealth of Virginia.
Owing to the loss of male members of the department during World War 2, women were employed as License Examiners to serve in the Women’s Auxiliary State Police (WASP).
The first State Police Manual was produced in 1944 with a range of General Orders which have been the rule and guide of state police operations and administration for all members and employees through the present.
The state police badge and patch emblem which were approved by Colonel Woodson remain in use at this time.
The testing of the use of radar for speed enforcement began during his tenure.
A Memorial Gallery of portraits of members killed in the line of duty was established to honor the service of each. Under Colonel R. L. Suthard, the Memorial Gallery was renamed the Charles W. Woodson Memorial Gallery to honor Colonel Woodson and his long period of service to Virginia.
The use of aircraft in police work was introduced in 1946.
Watson James of DMV was commissioned in 1947 to complete a History of the Department.
The first vehicles in the Blue/Gray colors came into service in 1948.
The Investigation and Records Division was established with Lieutenant R. B. King assigned to command.
The use of trained dogs in police work was instituted.
Teams of troopers trained in underwater work (SCUBA) were organized and placed into operation.
He obtained funding and directed the construction of a new training academy, later adding an addition.
During his tenure, new division headquarters and area offices across the state were constructed or upgraded.
He approved creation of a department pistol team which participated successfully in competition with other agencies at the National level.
Woodson was past President of both the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
He was a trustee of the Institute of Police Management.
Woodson retired as Superintendent effective January, 1968 and was succeeded by Colonel H. W. Burgess, Jr.
Following retirement he became a security consultant for Miller and Rhodes Department Store, Richmond.
In 1970, he returned to state service when appointed Director of the newly established Virginia Law Enforcement Officer’s Commission, retiring from that position in 1973.
Wife Virginia was deceased the year 2000; two daughters surviving, Elizabeth Woodson Brady, South Carolina and Virginia Woodson Rupp, Denver, Colorado.
Colonel Woodson died August 22, 1983 and is interred in Westhampton Memorial Park, Richmond.
James Richard Nunn
Date of Birth February 3, 1903
Native of King William County, Virginia
Prior to employment with the Division of Motor Vehicles, Nunn was employed as a truck driver for John Dillard and A. M. Francisco Company. In his early years, he was also a driver for the Greyhound Bus Lines.
June 18, 1928 he was employed by the Division of Motor Vehicles as an Inspector and assigned to Tappahannock.
He was promoted to Sergeant June 15, 1930 and assigned to Richmond.
April 5, 1934, Nunn was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to supervise operations in Districts 2 and 3 in Norfolk.
Nunn was promoted to Captain July 1, 1940 and transferred to Richmond.
When the state police unit of DMV was separated from that agency to become the Department of State Police in 1942, Nunn was designated the Personnel Officer for the newly created department on July 15, 1942.
He attended the FBI National Academy in 1943.
March 31, 1944 during World War 2, he was promoted to Major and appointed Acting Superintendent by Governor Colgate Darden to replace Colonel C. W. Woodson who was called for duty as a commissioned officer with the Navy.
Upon Woodson’s release from active duty with the Navy in 1945, Nunn returned to his former position as Personnel Officer.
Wife Dorothy Rebecca Nunn was deceased in 1933. Later to remarry, wife Mary Elizabeth Reid Nunn was deceased in 1953.
Nunn resigned his position with the Department on July 27, 1947.
He died June 27, 1967 and was interred at Providence Methodist Church, King William County.
Harold Wilson Burgess
Date of Birth June 28, 1913
Native of Spotsylvania County, Virginia
First employed as a clerk with D. Pender Grocery Company, Norfolk.
Later transferred to Tappahannock as store manager for D. Pender.
Selected to attend Division of Motor Vehicles training school for position of Inspector May, 1936. At the time, permanent positions were not offered until the candidate had successfully completed the training phase.
His candidacy for a police position with DMV was driven to an extent by the fact that his father was a special police officer with Spotsylvania County.
Graduated DMV school June, 1936 as Inspector and assigned to the state police unit of the Norfolk office of DMV.
Effective date of official employment with DMV was July, 1936.
Transferred to Suffolk where he served in the state police unit of DMV as Inspector. At this time, the position may have been informally referred to as Trooper.
The enforcement arm (state police unit) of DMV became a separate agency of state government in 1942 and was designated the Department of State Police.
Promoted to Sergeant and transferred to West Point April, 1947.
Attended and graduated FBI National Academy 1949.
In July, 1950, in what data reflects may have been a new position, Burgess was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to State Police Headquarters(SPHQ) to command the training academy.
Completed the following courses of study:
Homicide Investigation, Harvard University.
Law Enforcement Science, Western Reserve University.
Police Supervision, Northwestern University.
Traffic Safety Management, New York University.
Promoted to Captain 1955 and assigned as Division Commander to 4th Division, Wytheville; Lieutenant J. S. Pearson, District 7, Wytheville; Lieutenant W. S. Dameron, District 8, Roanoke.
February, 1959 promoted to Inspector at State Police Headquarters to succeed Inspector P. W. Crews who was promoted to Executive Officer under Colonel C. W. Woodson, Jr., Superintendent.
Following his promotion to Inspector, the designation of the position was changed to Major, Field Supervisor March, 1959.
April, 1964 promoted to Executive Officer to succeed P. W. Crews who died in office.
In January, 1968 appointed Superintendent by Governor Mills E. Godwin, Jr. to succeed Colonel Woodson who retired. Thereafter, as an indication of the confidence held in him, Burgess was reappointed to the office by Governor A. Linwood Holton, Jr. in 1970 and again by Governor Godwin in 1974.
Notable changes occurring during this tenure:
A new radio communications system for the agency was implemented.
A Division of Criminal Investigation was created placing all department investigative components under separate command from uniform operations.
With the emergence of illegal narcotics as a growing problem across the state and nation, undercover operations to address the matter were approved and implemented.
Elected President of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police.
Appointed Chairman of the Council of Criminal Justice and Chairman of the Criminal Justice Services Commission.
Served as Chairman of the North Atlantic Region, Division of State and Provincial Police of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Commended by the Department of Highways and Transportation for outstanding leadership as Superintendent.
Highly commended by the Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate for job exceedingly well done as Superintendent.
Retired as Superintendent March, 1977 and was succeeded by Captain D. M. Slane.
At a special ceremony in September, 1977, he was presented the Commonwealth Award for Outstanding Public Service by James Madison University.
Died February 21, 1990 and interred Westhampton Memorial Park, Richmond.
Wife Davis Wilkerson Burgess later deceased following Colonel Burgess’s passing.
Surviving son Harold Wilson Burgess Jr. retired July l, 2014 as Judge, 12th Judicial Circuit, Chesterfield County and the City of Colonial Heights; surviving daughters Patricia Burgess Nott and Vicki Burgess Nott, who married brothers; five grandchildren and five great grandchildren surviving.
Denny Meade Slane
Date of birth June 8, 1924.
Native of Paw Paw (Hampshire County) West Virginia
Graduated from Capron Bridge High School in 1942.
Began his police career as a Patrolman with the Winchester, Virginia Police Department in 1947 serving 2 1/2 years with that department.
Employed by Virginia State Police as a Probationary Trooper on June 16, 1949 and assigned to Division 3 Charlottesville for training under Sergeant M. F. Ritter.
Entered the State Police Academy, 17th Basic Session, on October 16, 1949; Lieutenant R. A. Lynn, Director, Sergeants J. E. Kidd and C. E. Rives, Instructors.
Graduated from the State Police Academy on December 16, 1949 and elected Class President by fellow classmates. Assigned to then Division 2 Green County followed by transfer to Rockingham County, Harrisonburg in March 1951.
Promoted to Sergeant on September 4, 1956 and assigned to State Police Administrative Headquarters, Investigation and Records Division as a Duty Sergeant.
On January 1, 1958 transferred to the office of the newly opened Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike, Area 8, followed by transfer as Sergeant, to Area 6 Chesterfield, Amelia and Powhatan Counties).
Completed Police Administrative Course at the University of Maryland and Southern Police Institute Administrative Officers Course at University of Louisville as well as numerous seminars during his career.
Promoted to Lieutenant in October 1961 and assigned to newly formed Division 6 Salem as Headquarters Lieutenant; Captain J. W. Burrow, Division Commander and H. C. Guy, Field Lieutenant.
Promoted to Captain on January 1, 1966 and assigned to Division 5 Chesapeake as Division Commander succeeding Captain Roy M. Terry who became Division Commander, Safety Division; J. M. Booher, Headquarters Lieutenant and S. C. Waddill, Field Lieutenant.
During tenure as Division Commander, he oversaw supervision of one of the earliest undercover drug enforcement programs in Virginia.
As Division Commander, he initiated the Safety at Sea Program in 1970 wherein selected troopers are assigned to serve at sea with ships of the Atlantic fleet returning to port for the purpose of providing reorientation focusing on driver safety.
Appointed Superintendent by Governor Mills L. Godwin, Jr. on March 1, 1977 to succeed Colonel H. W. Burgess who retired; as indication of his performance in office, he was reappointed Superintendent during the administrations of Governors John Dalton and Charles Robb.
Notable changes during his tenure as Superintendent:
In May 1977 the use of black patrol cars was discontinued and replaced with multiple colored vehicles.
In late 1977 and early 1978 Tactical Teams were formed, trained and placed in each Field Division.
In 1978 the Bureau of Criminal Investigation replaced the Division of Investigation.
In July of 1980 Division 7 was created to serve Northern Virginia and located in Fairfax.
New Division Headquarter buildings were completed and occupied in Wytheville and Richmond.
Uniform changes were made allowing short sleeve shirts with no tie. The requirement for wearing uniform hats in patrol vehicles was eliminated, installation of CB and FM radios in patrol vehicles was authorized and permanent overtime pay became a reality. All of these greatly increased the morale of Department personnel.
The Aviation and Medivac Units were formed.
The Chaplains program was created.
Utilization of bullet proof vests for members was initiated.
A Superintendents Award Program was created to recognize personnel for heroic and life saving efforts.
The Motor Carriers and Hazardous Material Unit, Weight Enforcement Officer Program and Arson Unit became part of the Department.
The first statewide Marijuana Eradication Program in cooperation with the Virginia National Guard was initiated.
A new and updated radio system (SIRS) was completed making car to car communications and communication with Sheriffs and local police possible.
As Superintendent, he served on numerous boards and committees, including the Criminal Justice Services Board and advisor to the Transportation Safety Board.
He was an active member of the Virginia Chiefs of Police Association beginning in 1966.
Retired as Superintendent on October 1, 1984 and was succeeded by Captain Robert L. Suthard.
The Virginia State Police Museum was created and named The Colonel Denny M. Slane Museum and History Center in his honor.
He created a specially designed state police flag and donated it to the Department which became the official flag of the state police.
Served as Executive Director of a railroad safety program from 1985 to 1996 called “Operation Lifesaver” sponsored by Norfolk Southern and CSX railroads.
In 1996 he was presented a “Lifetime Safety Achievement Award” by the Virginia Governor’s Transportation Safety Board for outstanding service in the field of highway and transportation safety.
Served as a promotion test rater with the Department in May-September 1998
Wife, Mary Jo Pancake Slane was deceased prior to death of Colonel Slane.
Son, Dr. Joseph A. Slane, Pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church (USA) Birmingham, Alabama.
Deceased: March 11, 2010 and interred in Indian Mound Cemetery, Romney, West Virginia.
Robert Lee Suthard
Date of Birth, August 5, 1931
Native of Warsaw, Virginia
Graduate of Cople High School, Hague, Virginia
Employed as a heavy equipment operator prior to entering military service.
Entered the United States Army in 1952. Following training as an artilleryman, transported to Korea and assigned to a 155mm howitzer unit, participating in action against North Korean/Chinese forces; succeeding promotions to Sergeant and awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service against enemy forces. Returned to the United States September, 1953.
Following discharge from the Army, 1954, employed with the Virginia Highway Department in the Northern Neck. Left the highway department upon employment with the Virginia State Police as a Probationary Trooper April, 1954 and assigned to Area 31, Melfa for field training under Trooper Edward Gardner.
Entered the State Police Academy July, 1954 as member of 26th basic session;
Graduated from the state police academy September, 1954 and assigned to Temperanceville, Area 31.
Promoted to Sergeant October, 1961 and assigned to Area 36, Waverly as Area Sergeant, a newly established position and area.
October, 1967 promoted to Lieutenant and assigned as Assistant Safety Officer, SPHQ to succeed Lieutenant B. E. Denton, Jr. who had passed away; Captain R. M. Terry, Safety Division Commander.
During this tenure under the direction of Captain Terry managed changes in the motor vehicle inspection program and intra-departmental safety programs.
Graduate FBI National Academy.
Member of the Board, Virginia Credit Union.
Transferred to 2nd Division, Culpeper June, 1975 as Headquarters Lieutenant to replace Lieutenant B. E. Chisholm who was transferred to SPHQ; Captain W. F. Corvello, Division Commander, J. M. Jacobs, Field Lieutenant.
Promoted to Captain March, 1977 as Division Commander, 2nd Division Culpeper to replace Captain W. F. Corvello who was transferred to 5th Division, Chespeake.
August, 1979 transferred to SPHQ as commander, Property & Finance Division.
June, 1980 transferred to 7th Division, Fairfax, a newly created division, as Division Commander.
Appointed Superintendent October, 1984 by Governor Charles Robb to succeed Colonel D. M. Slane who retired, he was reappointed to the office by Governor Gerald L. Balilies in 1986.
Notable changes, events occurring during tenure as Superintendent:
Reorganization of the department which established the Bureaus of Field Operations, Criminal Investigation and Administrative and Support Services with the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel and Major heading each bureau.
Establishment of senior, master trooper and senior special agent positions with corresponding elevations in pay scales.
Major construction of student barracks, classrooms and the Woodson Memorial Gallery complex.
Established a clearing house to assist law enforcement agencies locate missing children.
Implemented required seat belt use within the Department.
Influenced legislation establishing Virginia’s first safety belt law.
Department achieved accreditation from the National Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, the second state police/highway patrol agency in the nation to be so recognized.
The department implemented the process of issuing licenses to the inspectors in the motor vehicle inspection program.
In 1987, the Data Processing Division was established as a separate entity.
The computerized fingerprint classification system was installed in 1987.
In 1988, motorcycles were returned to the department as an important tool for field operations in the highly congested traffic areas of the state.
An Auto Theft Unit was established within the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
In 1989, the Motorist Assistance Program was implemented.
The Trooper Teddy program was implemented to assist in easing the mental state and injury experienced by children involved in motor vehicle crashes, each being recipient of a teddy bear from the investigating Trooper.
A flag designed by Colonel D. M. Slane retired, and unique to the Department was adopted for display and use by the agency.
Retired as Superintendent January, 1990 upon appointment as Secretary of Public Safety by Governor L. Douglas Wilder and succeeded by Lieutenant Colonel W. F. Corvello.
Following retirement as Secretary of Public Safety in January, 1992, he founded Suthard’s Associates, a consulting firm.
Selected to Chair the Virginia Credit Union Board following retirement.
Wife Lucile Hill Suthard; son Colonel Robert Lee Suthard, Jr. Retired, United States Army.
Died December 2, 2009 and interred Tankards Rest Cemetery, Exmore Virginia.
William Francis Corvello
Date of Birth October 14, 1931
Native of Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Graduate Dartmouth High School
Enlisted in the Marine Corps February, 1951.
Following basic training and advanced infantry training shipped to Korea September, 1951; assigned to lst Marine Division, 7th Marine Regiment and participated in action against North Korean/Chinese forces on East Central and western fronts; succeeding promotions to corporal and sergeant while in country. Returned to the United States in November, 1952 and assigned to G-2 (intelligence section), Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk.
Following discharge from the Marine Corps in 1954, employed with Virginia State Police as Probationary Trooper August, 1955 and assigned to Area 6, Chesterfield County for field training under Trooper E. A. Austin.
Entered State Police Academy January, 1956 as member of 28th basic session; Lieutenant F.A. Bradley Academy Director, Sergeants D. R. Haskett and M. H. Kent, instructors.
Graduated from the State Police Academy in March, 1956, Trooper P. C. Hollandsworth, class President, and assigned to Windsor, Isle of Wight County with Trooper L. L. Marshall as members of Area 29 headquartered in Nansemond County (now Suffolk). Trooper B. G. Bell also of this graduating class was assigned to Franklin.
As trooper, underwent subsequent transfers first to James City/York County, Area 37 Williamsburg in October, 1957 and then to Norfolk County (now Chesapeake), Area 32 Norfolk in December, 1958.
Promoted to Sergeant March, 1962 and assigned to Area 3, West Point as Area Sergeant to succeed C. E. Nichols who was promoted to Field Lieutenant, 2nd Division Culpeper.
December, 1962 transferred to Area 6 Chesterfield County as Area Sergeant to succeed W. B. Moncure who was transferred to SPHQ as Headquarters Sergeant.
April, 1965 transferred to 5th Division, Chesapeake as Headquarter Sergeant to replace Sergeant J. D. Rush who retired; Captain R. M. Terry, Division Commander, J. M. Booher, Headquarters Lieutenant and S. C. Waddill, Field Lieutenant.
From 1966 to 1968, enrolled at Old Dominion University in classes on Criminal Justice, Political Science and Government and selected for the Honors Program for academic excellence in the Evening College of ODU.
January, 1968 transferred to Area 37, Williamsburg as Area Sergeant to replace Sergeant E. F. Loomis who transferred to 4th Division, Wytheville.
Assisted by Trooper J. K. Adams, investigated the death of Trooper Donald E. Lovelace, who was assigned to Area 37 and killed during a traffic stop on US Route 17 near Grafton in York County on October 18, 1970. Trooper Lovelace had been a recent graduate of the State Police Academy and left a wife and two small children.
In 1970 became a rated pilot and was approved in check ride by Trooper James A. Nichols to operate the fixed wing aircraft that was assigned to 5th Division prior to establishment of a Department Aviation unit.
In October, 1971 promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to 3rd Division, Appomattox as Field Lieutenant replacing Lieutenant L. E. Thomas who retired; Captain C. L. Wilson, Division Commander and E. C. Riner, Headquarters Lieutenant.
In 1973 approved for part-time employment with Cardinal Air of Lynchburg as a flight instructor, fixed wing aircraft.
June, 1974 to September, 1974 attended/graduated 98th Session, FBI National Academy.
July, 1974 promoted to Captain, assigned initially to SPHQ as Commander,
Records and Statistics Division, a newly established position then transferred in October, 1974 to 2ndDivision, Culpeper as Division Commander to replace Captain W. R. Wagner, who was transferred to SPHQ.
In 1974, became a member of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police(VACP).
March, 1977 transferred to 5th Division, Chesapeake as Division Commander to succeed Captain D. M. Slane appointed Superintendent by Governor Mills Godwin.
Notable events during tenure as 5th Division Commander:
In January, 1979 beginning of extended 26 week strike by Steelworkers Union against Newport News Shipbuilding requiring 90 troopers on scene daily assisting PD Newport News during strike period that was concluded in April with minimum of violence. The department was commended by Newport News City Council, shipyard officials and the press for the controlled performance of troopers and supervisors in their response to recurring incidents of provocation by strikers. No civil suits were registered against the department or any of its members in connection with the strike, a notable fact.
The nation’s Bicentennial celebration encompassing Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown took place over several weeks in the summer and fall of 1981 and required the largest contingent of VSP personnel (422 troopers, supervisors and special agents) for security, traffic and access control for any event up to that time. The many notables attending included President Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Vice President, and Governor John Dalton . Organizational planning for the overall event in 5thDivision extended over a number of months and was coordinated by First Sergeants J.W. Petefish and H.B. Bridges, Lieutenant W. T. Holloway overseeing.
In May, 1983, The Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations involving the leaders and heads of state of eight nations including President Ronald Reagan of the United States met in Williamsburg for a three day conference on world economic affairs. This required the participation of over 300 troopers and support personnel to assist federal and local officials with providing security for the event which was concluded without major incident.
December, 1984 promoted to Major by Colonel R. L. Suthard, Superintendent and assigned to SPHQ as Staff Administrator overseeing the Executive Protective Unit, Aviation Unit, and coordinating planning and reorganization.
During this tenure the department applied to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) for National accreditation. Captain Paul C. Hollandsworth, assisted by Sgt. S. C. Rasnick coordinated the overall task and accreditation was awarded in 1986, the second state police agency in the nation to be so recognized.
At the direction of Colonel Suthard, extensive study was undertaken on planning and reorganization of the department during this tenure.
July, 1985 promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and appointed Deputy Superintendent by Colonel Suthard to succeed Lieutenant Colonel J. S. Pearson who retired.
Notable events during this tenure under Colonel Suthard:
Reorganization of the agency which established the Bureaus of
Field Operations, Criminal Investigation and Administrative and
Support Services with the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel and Major heading each bureau.
Establishment of senior, master trooper and senior special agents positions with corresponding increases in pay scales.
Major construction of student barracks, classrooms and Woodson Memorial Gallery complex.
The Memorial Gallery was dedicated in the name of Colonel Charles W. Woodson, to honor his 26 years of service as Superintendent.
During this tenure, obtained rotor craft rating for Department Jet Ranger.
Member of the Board, Virginia Special Olympics.
Member of International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
Graduate Virginia Executive Institute in 1986.
Appointed Superintendent March, 1990 by Governor Douglas Wilder to succeed Colonel Suthard who was appointed Secretary of Public Safety.
Owing to pronounced budget reductions affecting all state agencies which occurred during this tenure, it became necessary to conduct a department wide review of all operational and administrative elements and prioritizing to ensure the effective continuation of essential public safety services. Budget reductions totaled approximately $11 million during this tenure. All agency bureaus performed commendably in meeting revised objectives which were the consequences of these reductions. Particularly notable during this entire process was the excellent guidance and vision of Doug Dix of the department’s office of finance.
Retired August, 1992 on the anniversary of employment as Trooper August, 1955 representing 37 years’ service to Virginia.
In 1994, called by the City of Newport News to serve as Chief of Police following the murders of two police officers and an attendant investigation of the circumstances which recommended major changes in the agency.
Following reorganization of the Newport News Police Department returned to retirement in 1997 and enrolled as student, College of William and Mary.
Graduated class of 2001, College of William and Mary with Bachelor of Arts in Classical Studies and minor in History.
In 2003 and 2008, called to serve as Interim Chief of Police for the City of Portsmouth during its searches for a permanent chief, returning to retirement following appointment of the new chief in each instance.
Wife Cheryl Carawan Corvello, four children, Donna M., Amy C. McGinley (Sean), Christopher A., Russell W. deceased, and six grandchildren.
Current residence The Chamberlin, Fort Monroe.
Carl R. Baker
Date of Birth July 14, 1947
Native of New York
Prior to employment with the Virginia State Police, Baker moved through the ranks with the New York State Police, retiring with the rank of Deputy Superintendent and chief administrative officer.
Graduate of Hudson Valley Community College with an Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice.
Graduate of Siena College with a Bachelor of Science in finance.
Awarded a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, State University of New York, Nelson A. Rockefeller Graduate School of Public Affairs in 1977.
While a member of the New York State Police, Baker was a primary instructor at the New York State Police Academy, an adjunct professor at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, and an adjunct professor at the graduate level at the State University of New York.
He served in the United States Army active and as a member of the reserves as a company commander in the Corps of Engineers and Military Police.
Among several considered by a selection panel, he was employed by the Virginia State Police in April 1990 as Director of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Appointed Superintendent of the Virginia State Police by Governor L. Douglas Wilder September 1, 1992 to succeed Colonel W. F. Corvello who retired.
Notable changes occurring during his tenure:
The Department ceased accepting applications on a continuous basis for a specific recruitment period.
The HEAT (Help Eliminate Auto Thief) program was established.
The violent crime investigative unit was created.
Three new evidence vans were purchased.
Public hearings were held throughout the State to receive public input.
A variety of new anticrime partnerships with local law enforcement began.
All Division headquarters were furnished with TDD devices for the hearing impaired.
Basic training was increased to 26 weeks
The internal Affairs unit was reorganized
Two new twin engine Eurocopter helicopters were purchased for the Med-Flight operation.
#77 call phone service implemented in Division 7.
AFIS expanded to local departments in several locations.
The title Weight Enforcement Officer changed to Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer.
The Sig 9mm replaced the S&W 10 MM sidearm.
A sex offender registry was established.
Following are notable affiliations during Baker’s tenure.:
In 1992, appointed by Governor Douglas Wilder to the Governor’s Task Force on Substance Abuse and Sexual Assault on College Campuses.
Designated a member of the Governor’s Commission on Violent Crime in 1992.
In 1992, appointed by the General Assembly to the Virginia Forensic Advisory Board.
Became a member of the IACP Highway Safety Committee in 1992.
In 1993, selected to serve on the Board of Directors, National Commission Against Drunk Driving.
In 1993, became a member of the National Institute of Justice Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Advisory Board, serving 7 years as Chairman.
In 1994, Baker completed the National Executive Institute, FBI Academy.
Baker left the Department in April 1994 to accept appointment as Deputy Secretary of Public Safety for the State of Virginia.
He retired from the Public Safety post in 1996 and was appointed Chief of Police, Chesterfield County.
He retired as Chief of Police, Chesterfield County July 1, 2007.
Following retirement, Baker established a consulting firm and became a partner with Decide Smart, LLC based in Richmond, Virginia.
Becoming fully retired in 2014, Baker and his wife reside in Moneta at Smith Mountain Lake.
Born March 10, 1949, in East St. Louis, Illinois. During childhood lived in Illinois, Miami, Florida, St. Joseph, Missouri and Chicago, Illinois before moving to Arlington, Virginia in 1970.
Employed by the United States Secret Service, Executive Protective Service from 1970 until 1971.
Employed with the Virginia State Police as Probationary Trooper in December, 1971 and assigned to area 16 Harrisonburg for field training under Trooper R. C. Arrington.
Entered State Police Academy April, 1972, 55th basic session.
Graduated from the State Police Academy in 1972 and assigned to Area 9, Fairfax County.
Resigned from the State Police in 1978 to become Chief Deputy Sheriff, Fairfax County.
Graduated class of 1978, George Mason University with Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
In 1979 was elected Sheriff of Fairfax County, followed by re-election in 1983 and 1987. Fairfax County is one of the largest metropolitan areas in Virginia, the Sheriff’s office having approximately 500 employees with an annual budget of about $40 million.
Honored for law enforcement/civic services by House Resolution #51, Virginia General Assembly.
In 1982 graduated the FBI National Academy and accorded the honor of being elected Section spokesman.
In 1983, recipient of Virginia Society, Sons of American Revolution Law Enforcement Commendation Medal.
Between 1982 and 1990, authored the following articles relating to corrections services:
- “The Local Jail” 1982 –The National Sheriff, April –May 1982, pp14, 19, 20 and 38.
- “The Local Jail” reprinted 1985 American Corrections by Todd R. Clear & George F. Cole, pp.222-224.
- “Urban Jails-Facing the Future”- Corrections Today. Vol.48, No. 6, pp. 114.
- “The Local Jail”, reprint3ed 1990 American Corrections, by Todd R. Clear & George F. Cole, pp. 229-232.
Accreditation awarded the Office of Sheriff, Fairfax County in 1984 and 1987 by the National Commission on Accreditation for Corrections.
Left the Office of Sheriff in 1990 upon receiving appointment by President George H. W. Bush to serve as Director, National Institute of Corrections an agency of the United States Department of Justice. The agency provides multiple forms of technical and training assistance to the nation’s state and local corrections agencies. Held this office until 1993 when leaving to take another position.
Attended Princeton University 1992 and completed Public Leadership and Management Skills Program.
In 1993, agreed to take the position of Executive Director, Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Richmond, Va. The Commission (CALEA) is an international group which accredits law enforcement agencies at all levels of government.
Appointed Superintendent of the Virginia State Police January, 1994 by Governor George Allen; reappointed by Governor James Gilmore in January, 1998 serving in the office until 2000.
In 2000, became President/General Manager of OMNISEC International Investigations, Inc. OSI, a subsidiary of OMNIPLEX, Chantilly, Va. a company providing security and investigative services for government and commercial clients throughout the United States, holding this position until 2004. The position directed and controlled a complement of more than 1700 involved in security and background investigative services.
In 2001, appointed Chairman, Virginia’s Domestic Preparedness and Security Commission by Governor Gilmore.
Recipient of the Patrick Henry Award by Governor Gilmore in 2001.
In 2004 through the present have held the position of Executive/Government Relations Director for the Virginia State Police Association.
Currently resides in Chesterfield County with wife Wanda. They have three children, 2 grandchildren and are expecting their 3rd & 4thgrandchildren in the summer of 2015.
They have been active in their church and youth sports in various capacities.
William Gerald Massengill
Date of birth September 27, 1942.
Native of Four Oaks, North Carolina
Graduate Four Oaks High School
Enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1961 and served as an Air Policeman with range of duties in Traffic Bureau and Security Sections of the Air Force.
Following discharge from the Air Force in 1965, employed with the Virginia State Police as Probationary Trooper in October, 1966 and assigned to Area 21, Campbell County for field training under Trooper Ray Keys.
Entered the State Police Academy session # 45 January, 1967, graduating in July, 1967 as class president.
Following graduation from the Academy in 1967, assigned to 5th Division, Area 34, Windsor, Isle of Wight County until December, 1975.
In December, 1975 promoted to Sergeant, 4th Division, Area 28, Claypool Hill Tazewell County to replace Sergeant Edward Chandler, who transferred.
Promoted to First Sergeant July, 1976 and remained assigned to command Area 28, Claypool Hill until 1979.
Graduate, summa sum laude, Southwest Virginia Community College, Associate Degree, Police Science.
Graduate University of Louisville, Southern Police Institute, Administrative Officers Course.
Graduate University of Louisville, Southern Police Institute, Advanced Administrative Officers Course.
In 1979, recipient of special recognition from the Richlands Chamber of Commerce for outstanding achievement and contribution to the Town of Richlands.
Transferred to lst Division, Area 7, Petersburg July, 1979 to replace First Sergeant C. H. Wallace, Jr. who retired.
In December, 1984 promoted to Lieutenant and designated Assistant Safety Officer replacing Lieutenant J. L. Connor who was promoted to Captain; Captain R. L. Bumgardner, Commander, Safety Division, State Police Headquarters, Richmond. The position assisted with the management and administration of the statewide Motor Vehicle Inspection and Emissions Programs.
Selected to serve as Staff Assistant to Colonel R. L. Suthard, Superintendent from September, 1986 to December, 1987; functioned as the Superintendent’s liaison to the department’s executive staff, other state and federal law enforcement officials and political leaders at the federal, state and local levels.
December, 1987 transferred to lst Division, Richmond as Field Lieutenant; Captain B. R. Belsches, Division Commander and A. D. King, Headquarters Lieutenant.
During this tenure, directed a complement of troopers assisting Police Department, Virginia Beach when riots broke out at the beachfront in 1989. The assistance of state police was material in suppressing riot conditions.
In 1990, coordinated security operations for the inauguration of Governor Douglas Wilder.
In March, 1993 promoted to Captain and assigned as Division Commander, Safety Division, State Police Headquarters, Richmond to replace Captain J. P. Henries who was promoted to Major; the position was responsible for the management and administration of the Motor Vehicle Inspection Program, the Department’s Intra-Departmental Safety Program and the Commonwealth’s Uniform Accident Prevention Program.
Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in June, 1994 and designated Director of the Bureau of Field Operations to replace Lt. Colonel C. M. Robinson who retired. As Director, BFO, became responsible for multiple operational units; the state wide field divisions, Aviation Unit, Executive Protective Unit providing 24 hour security for the governor and family, and the Safety Division.
Graduate Virginia Executive Institute.
In 1996, recipient of Virginia Crime Prevention Association’s O. W. Cundiff Service Award for significant and outstanding contributions to crime prevention.
In 1999, called to serve as member of the Governor’s Domestic Terrorism Workgroup and Steering Committee to Governor’s Security and Preparedness Panel, holding this until 2001.
In January, 2000 appointed Acting Superintendent by Governor James Gilmore following the departure of Colonel M. Wayne Huggins who had accepted a corporate position.
Following a nation-wide search, appointed Superintendent by Governor Gilmore June, 2000.
Reappointed Superintendent by Governor Mark R. Warner January, 2002.
The following were notable events or initiatives during tenures:
Directed state police investigative and precautionary measures across the state in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
In association with multiple law enforcement agencies similarly involved in a highly complex and critical operation, directed state police responses to the serial sniper attacks which affected the northern Virginia region.
Advanced the initiative for funding the construction of the Driver Training Tract at Fort Pickett, Colonel W. Steven Flaherty arranging subsequent construction during his tenure.
Obtained funding for the expansion of the state police headquarters facility including the Fusion Center and Emergency Operations Center, Colonel Flaherty having been responsible for construction during his tenure.
Retired as Superintendent October, 2003 representing 37 years of service.
In 2004 and through the present has served as Vice Chairman, Dinwiddie County Board of Zoning Appeals.
May, 2005 appointed Interim Director, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries by Governor Warner; charged with overseeing a reorganization of the agency, implementing corrective strategies and measures to establish agency integrity, and effective policies and procedures governing the entire department. Returned to retirement November, 2006 upon completion of the mission.
From 2003 to 2007, Executive Director, Virginia Public Safety Foundation
Appointed by Governor Timothy Kaine to serve as Chairman, Virginia Tech Review Panel which extensively explored and reported on the April, 2007 mass shootings at Tech which took the lives of over 30 students and staff.
In 2010, recipient of “Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement Award” from the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police covering reorganization of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries as Interim Director, Chairing the select panel appointed by Governor Kaine to explore and report on the mass killings that occurred at VPI, and for work as member of the Virginia Crime Commission over eight years. With respect to the VPI Review Panel work, VACP observed that panel findings had served to provide comprehensive direction and guidance to law enforcement/public safety officials throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.
From 2004 to 2012, member of the Virginia State Crime Commission.
Wife Juanita L. Massengill, three children and five grandchildren.
Current residence Sutherland, Virginia.
W. Steven Flaherty
Born November 27, 1953 in Roanoke, Virginia
Raised in Caroline County, Virginia
Father, Warren R. Flaherty served as a trooper from October, 1957 to March, 1971.
Graduate of Excelsior College with Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Protective Services.
Employed as a Probationary Trooper October, 1975 and assigned to Area 33 Suffolk for field training under Trooper H. C. White.
Entered the State Police Academy February, 1976 as member of 61st basic session.
Graduated from the State Police Academy in July, 1976 and assigned to 2nd Division Area 11, Independent Hill, Fredericksburg.
Promoted to Sergeant July 1, 1983 and assigned as instructor to the State Police Academy, Captain J. T. Flanary, Director.
Promoted to First Sergeant August 1, l986 and assigned to 4th Division, area 30, Norton to replace First Sergeant G. J. Eldridge who retired.
Promoted to Lieutenant July 1, 1990, designated Assistant Safety Officer and assigned to the Safety Division under Captain J. P. Henries to replace Henries who had been promoted to Captain as part of this personnel action.
Promoted to Captain in 1994 becoming Division Commander of the Safety Division to replace Captain W. G. Massengill who was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
Graduate Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command.
In 2000, promoted to Major and assigned to the Bureau of Field Operations as Deputy Director to replace Major J. B. Scott who was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
Graduate FBI National Executive Institute.
Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 2002 and assigned as Director of the Bureau of Administrative and Support Services to replace Lieutenant Colonel L. W. Burchett who retired.
Graduate Virginia Executive Institute.
Appointed Superintendent by Governor Mark W. Warner in January, 2003 to succeed Colonel W. G. Massengill who retired; reappointed to the office by Governors Timothy Kaine, Robert McDonald, and Terence McAuliffe in succeeding terms. As of the year 2015, Flaherty is the second longest tenured state police/ highway patrol superintendent in the United States, attesting to his consistent competency in the office.
During Colonel Flaherty’s successive tenures as Superintendent, he has directed or provided oversight to a reorganization focused on enhancing the efficiency of the agency, strengthening services to the public and other law enforcement agencies and improving and expanding the coordination of services with these agencies.
The department achieved reaccreditation in 2004 and 2007 from the National Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
Directed Department efforts in establishing the Northern Virginia –DC Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force in conjunction with other police departments.
Established a Sex Offender Investigative Unit.
Provided for enhanced recruitment from within the minority populations.
Developed and managed the communications system known as STARS, the Statewide Agencies Radio System. This system was the nation’s first integrated voice-over-data communications system now used by 21 Virginia state agencies.
Completed the much needed expansion of State Police Administrative Headquarters, making available the Virginia Fusion Center and the new state-of-the-art Virginia Emergency Operations Center.
Particularly notable during tenure as Superintendent was the leadership and direction of state police resources, investigative expertise and multi-agency coordination which were necessitated by the mass killings that took place at Virginia Tech University in April, 2007, the scene of the nation’s deadliest shootings. Equally notable was the successful management of media relations with representatives from around the world who came to the Tech Campus to cover the tragic event.
Among Colonel Flaherty’s affiliations as Superintendent are the following:
Member of the Board, International Association of Chiefs of Police and General Chair of the IACP State & Provincial Police Division.
Active in the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP).
Member, Department of Criminal Justices Services Board.
Serves on U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council.
Serves on the Joint Terrorism Task Force Executive Board for the Washington and Richmond offices of the FBI.
Member, Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Group (HIDTA).
Member, Central Virginia Law Enforcement Chief Executives Association.
Member, Greater Richmond Narcotics Task Force Executive Board.
Member, Executive Board DRIVE SMART, Virginia.
Member, American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators with service as International Chairman of the Inspection Handbook Committee, International Vice Chairman and Chairman, and Regional Chairman of the Engineering and Vehicle Inspection Committee.
Currently serving as Superintendent of State Police having been reappointed to the office by Governor Terence McAuliffe in January, 2014.
Wife Karen, three children and six grandchildren.
Son Christopher currently serves as a Special Agent with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Gary T. Settle
On Thursday, January 18, 2018, Gary T. Settle, a 32-year law enforcement veteran, was sworn in as the 13th superintendent of the Virginia State Police. His wife, Kelly, held the Bible as Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Thomasson administered the oath.
Colonel Settle was serving as the director of the department’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation prior to his appointment as the Superintendent of the Virginia State Police by Governor Ralph Northam. With his promotion to Colonel and appointment as Superintendent of the Virginia State Police, he commands a department with 2,118 sworn and 848 civilian personnel with an authorized operating budget of $340 million. He is the department’s 13th superintendent since 1932.
“As superintendent, I am committed to not only continuing the department’s proud traditions and esteemed reputation, but to also prepare and advance our personnel, programs, policies, technologies, training and equipment to sustain and meet the demand of an ever-changing society,” Settle said in a prepared statement.
A native of Rappahannock County, Settle graduated from the State Police Academy in 1986 as class president of the 78th basic session. He was first assigned as a trooper in Frederick and Clarke counties and rose through the ranks, serving in a variety of positions.
During his tenure, Settle has served as a tactical team supervisor, narcotics special agent, firearms instructor and as a member of the state police honor guard.
In addition to his progression through the supervisory ranks of state police, Settle served as Rappahannock County sheriff from 1996 to 2000. He earned a master’s degree in homeland security and defense from the Naval Postgraduate School and a bachelor’s degree in administration of criminal justice from Bluefield College.
He also is a graduate of the FBI Executive Management Course and the National Criminal Justice Command College of the University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies.