Following a nationwide search, the Town of Leesburg found its new police chief close to home.
Town Manager Kaj Dentler announced Tuesday night that Gregory Brown, a captain with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, has been selected as Leesburg’s next police chief. He will begin his new post Oct. 3. He replaces Joseph Price, who retired in March after 16 years leading the department.
Brown will be the town’s first black police chief and the highest ranking minority in the town’s government. His appointment comes at a time of increased racial tensions nationwide and follows a push by the Town Council to pursue diversity in the town’s hiring practices.
“I am both honored and humbled to have been chosen as the Town of Leesburg’s next chief of police,” Brown, who was not in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, stated in a press release. “I look forward to serving and partnering with the community beside the men and women of the Leesburg Police Department in order to further solidify a culture of trust and legitimacy with the citizens, visitors, and businesses of our town.”
Brown joined the sheriff’s office in 1997 and most recently served as commander of the Eastern Loudoun substation. During his time with Loudoun County, he has served as a patrol deputy, school resource officer, criminal investigator, and an undercover officer in vice, narcotics and gangs. He subsequently served as a supervisor in each of these units, as well as a member of the Emergency Response Team and the Honor Guard. In addition, he has served as the deputy director overseeing all Basic Law Enforcement Training at the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy. Before joining the sheriff’s office, he worked for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department.
Dentler also announced that Captain Vanessa Grigsby, who had been serving as interim chief since March, has been promoted to deputy chief of the department, a role that has not been filled since 2002. Her new role will be effective Aug. 1 and her new rank will be major. She joined the department in 1997 and served in command positions since 2004.
“Captain Grigsby has done an outstanding job serving as the interim police chief,” Dentler said. “Her experience and leadership have prepared her for this important role within the police department.”
The International Association of Chiefs of Police, which led the recruitment and selection process, took input from Leesburg community members as part of its efforts to hire a new chief.
More than 80 candidates applied for the position, with 21 selected for phone interviews. Six candidates were then selected for on-site interviews before two finalists were selected for further consideration. The finalists were interviewed by the Town Council, and participated in a forum with a community panel. Dentler then met individually with both finalists before making the decision to hire Brown.
“Mr. Brown distinguished himself throughout the process as the best candidate for the position of police chief,” Dentler stated. “His professional integrity and approach to community policing in the 21st century along with his broad experience with the County of Loudoun Sheriff’s Office were important factors in the selection process. I look forward to working with Mr. Brown in the police department’s mission to serve and protect the community.”
A swearing-in ceremony for Brown is anticipated for late September.