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The State of NoVa
Posted at 11:26 AM ET, 03/19/2013

New Prince William police chief Stephan Hudson wants to expand, diversify his force


Chief Stephan Hudson of the Prince William County Police Department was sworn in Friday as the county's third police chief. (Tracy Woodward - The Washington Post)
The influx of new blood into the top ranks of Northern Virginia’s police forces continued Friday with the swearing in of Stephan M. Hudson as the third chief in the Prince William County police department’s 42-year history. Also Friday, the town of Quantico hired a Prince William police officer to take over as chief of its tiny yet troubled department.

Hudson, 53, has been a Prince William officer for 30 years, and succeeds Charlie Deane, who had been chief for 24 years. Hudson has served as assistant chief of operations and criminal investigations, was commander of special operations, internal affairs and vice/narcotics, and spent 13 years as an officer and detective. He also shot and killed an armed man — the son of a friend — in 1996, so he knows what it’s like to be in that difficult position, “I think it’s broadened my thinking and helps me deal with folks involved in line of duty shootings or other critical incidents,” Hudson told me Tuesday.

As Prince William continues to grow, Hudson said he would like the police department to grow along with it, though he knows with budget problems that may not happen. Hudson said he would like to add 25 officers every year to a force that currently numbers 581 sworn members. That was the county’s original plan. Instead, they are adding 10 to 15 per year.

Hudson also wants his department to better reflect the minority-majority makeup of Prince William. He said his department is roughly 16 percent African-American, less than 10 percent Hispanic and 12 percent female. The county is about 20 percent African-American, 22 percent Hispanic. Coming closer to those ratios is an important goal, Hudson said.

Hudson said he thinks his department has significantly repaired its relations with the Hispanic community, after the controversy over checking immigrants’ status in 2007. The police no longer have an agreement with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement department, but Hudson noted that everyone who is booked into the county jail has their status checked there, and officers can still file reports with ICE, though not make immigration arrests.

“Over time,” Hudson said, “our citizen satisfaction rates have come back to where they were before 2007. Our efforts over the years,” to inform the Hispanic community of the immigration program, “have really paid off.”

The new chief said he was “not looking at making any tremendous changes” in the department, though he does want to emphasize “character, both individually and organizationally, and make integrity an ingrained quality. I’m going to expand that mantra.”

Speaking of integrity, in Quantico, the police department for the town of 500 is under investigation by the Virginia State Police. Its last chief and two of its officers resigned in January after an audit showed $1,080 missing along with some marijuana and some department guns, , The Post’s Jeremy Borden reported. On Friday, the town chose John P. Clair, 32, a Prince William officer who has also been an Army military police officer and served with the Dumfries and Quantico departments.

Quantico currently has only three part-time officers, and Clair will be charged with figuring out how big his department should be. “I feel like if I come in there and operate with integrity and professionalism,” Clair told Borden, “what more can I do?”

In the last year, new chiefs have taken over in Herndon, Falls Church, Vienna and Prince William, and the top jobs in Fairfax County and at George Mason University are vacant.

By  |  11:26 AM ET, 03/19/2013

Categories:  Prince William County, Police | Tags:  Stephan M. Hudson, John Clair, Prince William County Police Department, Quantico Police Department

 
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