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Mary Gavin takes over Falls Church police, becomes second woman chief in Northern Virginia

New Falls Church Police Chief Mary Gavin will assume command of the 33-officer department on Monday. (City of Falls Church)

Gavin, 55, becomes the second woman ever to head a police department in Northern Virginia. Maggie DeBoard was the first, when she assumed command of the Herndon Police Department in March.

Gavin spent 21 years of her police career with the Arlington Police Department, where she commanded the vice-narcotics squad and was operations district commander for the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. She has been deputy chief in Falls Church since December 2007, overseeing operations and internal affairs for the force of 33 sworn officers.

“Mary has earned the trust and respect of the members of the department and the community,” City Manager Wyatt Shields said in a press release Friday. “She lives and breathes the highest standards of law enforcement and is the ideal person to lead our Police Department forward.”

It will be interesting to see if Gavin seeks to repair relations with the city’s large Vietnamese population, which is still seething about a raid last year on the Eden Center and the prosecution this year of a spa owner who had just been sexually assaulted. Shields and the city council have said they want good relations with the Vietnamese community but that they cannot intervene in police business.

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