General Statement of the Job & Essential Functions

The City of Portsmouth, Virginia, is seeking a forward thinking and superior leader with a demonstrated commitment to ethical and effective management as well as to the model of 21st Century Policing and its application in a diverse, urban, and vibrant city that celebrates its history, while embracing its future. This is an opportunity to lead a police agency to make comprehensive and positive changes that build community trust and ensure public safety.

Portsmouth is an independent city, in the Hampton Roads Region in the Commonwealth of Virginia, situated on the James and Elizabeth Rivers, which empties into the Chesapeake Bay. Portsmouth, with a land area of approximately 30 square miles and an approximate population of 95,000 people, is home to the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, the United States Coast Guard Base Portsmouth, and the CSX and Norfolk Southern Railroads which support the national and international port commerce activities and military presence in the region. Portsmouth is across the Elizabeth River from downtown Norfolk, 30 minutes from the Virginia Beach oceanfront, 40 minutes from the Fort Monroe National Monument (U. S. National Park Service) and 60 minutes from Colonial Williamsburg and Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

The City of Portsmouth operates under the Council-Manager form of government, with the City Manager being responsible for daily operations. The City government employs approximately 1700 employees with an overall budget of $803 million.


The Police Chief is responsible for the efficient management and direction of the City’s Police Department, including Animal Control, Canine, Marine, Mounted Patrol, and Security Divisions. The department comprises over 340 full-time and part-time positions (254 sworn), with a command staff of two Assistant Chiefs and six Captains.

Serving as an integral and strategic partner with the City Manager’s Office, the Chief of Police will provide highly responsible planning and administrative work focused on the safety and security of the community. They will be responsible for providing leadership to oversee the development and implementation of policies, programs, and practices that meet the challenges to ensure our city remains safe, welcoming and inclusive.

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will be an experienced and proven law enforcement leader demonstrating visionary leadership, excellent management, administrative, and organizational skills, a commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and highly collaborative skills to serve as a change agent in all levels of an organization. The top candidate will be a driven and resilient leader to possess the immediate flexibility to adapt to changing conditions and implement best practices in community policing.

Primary Responsibilities

Provides leadership and strategic direction for developing, administering and communicating public safety policies and procedures to meet overall city needs and objectives. Selects department employees; reviews and approves a strategic recruitment plan for vacant positions; plans and organizes work; develops and establishes work methods and standards; conducts or directs staff training and development; maintains effective department discipline and morale; reviews and evaluates employee performance and executes disciplinary action as warranted.

Ensures the department provides courteous and expedient customer service to the general public and department staff.

Ensures that laws and ordinances are enforced, ethical and professional standards are followed, and that measures are implemented to prevent crimes and protect lives and property. Monitors and directs all operational functions such as patrol activities, criminal investigations, employee training and development, and animal control.

Advises and assists crime victims, the general public, subordinates, or others in law enforcement with policy or procedures interpretation; coordinates with other law enforcement agencies, emergency management agencies, and other agencies engaged in protecting the public on matters of mutual concern.

Oversees the development of the departmental budget and fiscal operations of the department; directs the forecasting of additional funds needed to ensure adequate law enforcement services, programs, activities, and related tools, supplies and equipment.

Presents departmental issues and recommendations on major issues requiring policy direction to appropriate advisory bodies and to the City Manager; ensures reports, studies, and plans are appropriately processed in accordance with federal, state, and city laws and ordinances.

Establishes systems for ensuring city and departmental personnel policies and procedures are appropriately administered; oversees departmental human resources functions, to include developing departmental strategic plan and periodic evaluation of the plan’s goals and objectives; and the management of employee relations and staff development programs.

Responsible for promoting programs to engage the community; maintains high visibility and accessibility to the community to achieve positive interaction and understanding; represents the city and the Police Department and works closely with citizen groups, public and private officials, and outside agencies; and serves as liaison for other law enforcement agencies to provide technical assistance, and to ensure responsive, appropriate delivery of law enforcement services.

Education, Experience & Special Requirements

Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Public Administration, Psychology, or a related field, at least ten (10) years of law enforcement experience and five (5) years of progressively responsible command level position of Captain or higher rank in a similar sized agency or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Master’s Degree preferred.

Graduation from command level management training such as the FBI National Academy, the Southern Police Institute, Senior Management Institute for Police or Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command is preferred.

DCJS Certified or able to obtain certification within 6 months of employment.

Requires a comprehensive background investigation to include a local, state and federal criminal history check.

A valid Virginia driver’s license with an acceptable driving record at the time of application. If out of state, a Virginia driver’s license must be obtained within 60 days.

Requires satisfactory results from a medical evaluation and pre-employment substance abuse testing and is subject to random alcohol and controlled substance testing.

Continued employment is contingent upon maintaining all State requirements for Police Officers as specified in Virginia Code; all federal and state requirements to carry a firearm. Must be able to wear a standard issued duty belt with all applicable gear.

Residency in the City of Portsmouth is required within 6 months of employment.

Physical Demands

All candidates must submit an online application and resume by the posted deadline. The City of Portsmouth is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Diversity and inclusion are particularly important to the City of Portsmouth. The City strongly encourages women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, and veterans to apply.

Salary Range: $89,948.00 – $175,903.00 +/- DOQ.

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