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University Of Virginia Police Chief Announces Retirement

August 21, 2000 -- University of Virginia Police Chief Michael Sheffield announced today he will retire after 16 years as the University’s top law enforcement officer and a quarter-century career in law enforcement at the University. He plans to remain in his position until a successor is named.

"We’re very sorry that he plans to retire, but he has certainly earned the right to do so," said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Leonard W. Sandridge. "He is one of the most well-liked people on Grounds, and he runs an outstanding department."

The U.Va. Police Department’s ranks include 60 police officers and investigators and more than 100 U.Va. Hospital security and community service officers.

A 55-year-old Charlottesville native, Sheffield first came to the University as a patrol officer in March 1976 and quickly worked through the ranks — serving as crime prevention officer, director of safety and security at University Hospital and police captain for law enforcement — before being named chief in 1984.

His tenure has been marked by a focus on crime prevention programs and technological innovation.

Under Sheffield, the U.Va. Police Department has made greater use of information technology, using e-mail to alert students, faculty and staff to potential danger and introducing a Web-based crime tip program called "Silent Watch." In 1996, the department entered into a regional crime analysis program with the Charlottesville and Albemarle County police departments, using a computer database to track crime trends. In 1995, the department instituted a video surveillance system to better monitor potential danger spots on Grounds.

The department helped co-found the University Escort Service with a student group in 1985, and later took over the service altogether.

Sheffield helped coordinate security for major events, including the visits of U.S. presidents and other dignitaries, a national governor’s conference and the 1998 Nobel Peace Laureates Conference. He also led the department and the University through several crises, including the tragic collapse of the Pavilion I balcony during graduation exercises in 1997, a highly publicized confrontation between a student and police officer in the fall of 1997 that raised racial tensions on Grounds, and a 1991 drug raid on three U.Va. fraternity houses.

Sheffield was given the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 1991, recognizing "excellence of character and service to humanity." He is a past winner of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administration’s meritorious service award and the Virginia Crime Prevention Association’s O.W. Cundiff Award.

He has served on several state and University boards and task forces, and has chaired the University’s Parking and Transportation Committee.

Besides his memberships in local, state and national professional organizations, Sheffield has served as president of Camp Albemarle and director of Region III Special Olympics. He has also been a member of the boards of several local organizations, including the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program and the Chamber of Commerce ‘Leadership Charlottesville’ Alumni.

The search for Sheffield’s successor will begin immediately, Sandridge said.

Contact: Louise Dudley, (804) 924-1400

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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