Two Police Departments Working as One Team to Enhance your Safety

On Wednesday, January 11, 2012, Albemarle County Chief of Police Steve Sellers, and City of Charlottesville Chief of Police Timothy Longo, gave a comprehensive presentation addressing the multifaceted issues of crime, crime prevention and law enforcement in both the City and County.


Their joint presentation included an overview of area crime, a look at traffic safety in Albemarle and the Occupy Charlottesville demonstrations from a constitutional and operational perspective.


longo_1201111Timothy J. Longo, Sr., Chief of Police, City of Charlottesville, is a 25-year veteran of law enforcement and is nationally-recognized in the area of police ethics and professional standards. He holds a law degree from the University of Baltimore and was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1993. From 1981-2000, Longo served on the Baltimore police force, where he commanded several divisions and retired as Colonel in charge of Technical Services. Since 2001 he has served as Chief of Police for the City of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Longo lectures across America in the fields of Ethics, Professional Standards, Internal Affairs, and a variety of legal topics. He has served as adjunct faculty at Towson University and a guest lecturer at University of Virginia schools of law and business. Longo serves on the boards of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation, the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission, the Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Training Academy, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Commission on Children and Families, and Special Olympics Virginia. He chairs the Thomas Jefferson Area Community Criminal Justice Board. He is a non-voting member of the Charlottesville Police Department Foundation board. Other professional affiliations include the Police Executive Research Forum and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

During his tenure on the Baltimore force, Longo worked in a variety of operational positions, led investigations of criminal wrongdoing within the department’s ranks, commanded the department’s Southeastern District, served as chief of staff to the police commissioner, and led the Communications Division to implement the nation’s first three digit non-emergency number, 311, for which the division received the prestigious Weber Seavey Award for innovative law enforcement.

In Charlottesville, Longo has guided the police department through a transition from a traditional reactive force to a proactive problem-solving model. Under his leadership, the department has instituted a comprehensive strategic plan for community policing throughout the organization, and has undertaken major initiatives to improve police effectiveness, transparency and accountability. Those include a sophisticated crime analysis software system, a monthly Compstat process, an intensive 8-week Citizens Police Academy, a community-wide gun violence project, a strict internal quality assurance process, advanced leadership training opportunities, and community partnerships for targeted problem-solving projects.

sellers_120111Steve Sellers, Chief of Police, County of Albemarle, is a 29 year police veteran in Virginia and was appointed as the Chief of Police for Albemarle County in January 2011.

Shortly after the events of September 11, 2001, Sellers developed a plan to improve criminal intelligence and information sharing between local, state and federal law enforcement and helped to create the National Capital Regional Intelligence Center (now the Northern Virginia Regional Intelligence Center) staffed by local, state and federal agencies. The Center is now heralded as a national model for the sharing, collection and investigation of criminal intelligence.

In 2003, Sellers led the Washington Area Sniper Prosecution Taskforce, responsible for the successful prosecution of Lee Malvo and John Mohammed. In coordination with his counterpart in the Prince William County Police Department, his role was to lead the 26-agency team, responsible for the investigation and prosecution of the Washington Area Snipers.

Sellers is married with three children and resides in Crozet, Virginia. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Capital Wireless Information Network and is on the Board of Directors for the Fairfax County Police Historical Association. His hobbies include fishing, boating, motorcycles, blue grass music, wood working, hiking and amateur radio.

Sellers holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Virginia Tech. Additionally, he is a graduate from the FBI National Academy and is a graduate and alumni of Leadership Fairfax.

Sellers enjoys membership in the International Association of Chiefs of Police, FBI National Academy Associates and the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police.

Chiefs Sellers and Longo spoke at the Wednesday, January 11, 2012 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Charlottesville Senior Center. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV board member Jim Perkins.

Program Summary

The following article is reprinted (and somewhat truncated) from the Daily Progress, January, 11, 2012, by Megan Davis.

Local police chiefs: Top concerns are fatal wrecks and gangs

The area’s two top law enforcement officers said reducing Central Virginia gang activity and the number of fatal wrecks in Albemarle County were the chief concerns heading into the new year. “Albemarle County is a dangerous place to drive,” said Albemarle Police Chief Steve Sellers. Sellers and Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy J. Longo spoke to more than 50 seniors about issues concerning policing and crime prevention Wednesday in a forum hosted by Senior Statesmen of Virginia.

More than 20 county crashes resulted in fatalities in 2011, a number Sellers called “unacceptable.” The majority of fatal wrecks occurred in the rural parts of the county, where there is often less police coverage, he said. The three most common factors that contributed to fatalities were speeding, failure to wear seatbelts and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Longo and Sellers said their departments and others in the area are collaborating to reduce gang activity. “Our police officers are seeing more and more of a gang presence in this area, and we need to get in front of it,” Sellers said. It’s a problem that traditional policing has failed to eradicate, Longo said. That’s because traditional methods often treat the symptoms, but fail to address the root of problems in the community, he said. “Don’t put a Band-Aid on a sucking chest wound,” Longo said.

As an example of traditional policing, Longo described the way police would respond to a complaint of drug activity in a neighborhood. Under the older model, the department would increase the presence of law enforcement in the particular neighborhood identified. While drug activity may decrease in the neighborhood receiving attention, it will increase in areas under less scrutiny, he said. “It’s called spatial displacement,” Longo said. “Another reason it doesn’t work is that I don’t have the numbers to sustain that over long periods of time.”

Use of proactive solutions such as mentoring youth and initiatives to prevent children from joining gangs is a more effective strategy, Longo said. It’s an effort that involves the entire city, not just the police departments. Sellers said, “The community as a whole—-churches, schools, activity centers for youth, youth programs, social services, human services—-our goal is a collaborative, coordinated effort to bring all the players to the table.” It’s important to reach children at a young age before the opportunity to become involved with gangs arises, Longo said. “We can’t wait until the young men and women get in high school,” he said. “I worked with a gentlemen seven years ago who used to tell our community back in Baltimore a kid makes a gun-or-no-gun decision by the time that they’re 10.” Longo said the same is often true in Charlottesville. “I can’t tell you how many times over the years we’ve done a big case and sent somebody to jail for a long time and somebody will come up to me and say, ‘I could have told you that when they were at Buford,’.” Sellers said the departments plan to seek federal funding for a multi-disciplinary gang prevention coordinator. “We have to take a regional, multidisciplinary approach to the gang problem.”

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