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UVA Names New Chief of Police

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Tommye Sutton comes to UVA after three years at Northwestern University. Tommye Sutton comes to UVA after three years at Northwestern University.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

The University of Virginia has found a new police chief to succeed retiring Chief Mike Gibson, who started his career at UVA in 1982.

Tommye S. Sutton will become the new chief of police effective on August 1. Sutton will be leaving Northwestern University, where he oversaw all patrol, investigations, special event planning, security operations, and administrative functions of the Chicago and Evanston campuses since 2015. 

During his time at Northwestern, Sutton incorporated bias-understanding into training, overhauled hiring and promotions to increase representation of under-represented groups, and implemented “Mental Heath First Aid” as a mandatory annual department training.

“Tommye’s dedication to building diverse teams and establishing relationships between the police and communities they serve stood out during the selection process,” UVA Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Hogan said in a press release.

Before working at Northwestern, Sutton was the deputy chief of police and director of charter school security at the University of Chicago from 2013 to 2015 and served as a police lieutenant at Vanderbilt University from 2008 to 2013.

Sutton was selected by Hogan as well as Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Gloria Graham as part of a search committee. Graham also previously worked at Northwestern University before coming to UVA in May.

“Tommye’s demonstrated commitment to campus safety, genuine care for the communities he serves, and nimbleness in connecting with stakeholders will be invaluable to the University of Virginia,” Graham said in a press release.

Sutton will serve as the principal administrator in planning, directing, and managing the comprehensive law enforcement and administrative components of the UVA Police Department while reporting to Graham. According to the release, he will also direct and administer the overall policing initiatives of the academic and UVA Medical Center communities. 

“It is an honor to be entrusted with the duties of chief of police and be a part of an exemplary institution such as the University of Virginia,” Sutton said in the release. “I am looking forward to joining the men and women of the University Police Department in providing exceptional service delivery, community engagement, and fostering partnerships to meet the needs of the UVA community.”

Captain Melissa Fielding, a 26-year veteran of the University Police force, will serve as interim chief until Sutton’s official start date on August 1.