Police Chief Philip Broadfoot announced today that he will retire on Jan. 1, ending a 44-year career in law enforcement that included 13 years as chief of police in Waynesboro and 14 years as chief of police in Danville.
In Danville, Broadfoot leads a department with 238 employees in three divisions, with 153 (131 sworn) in law enforcement, 36 (34 sworn) in adult detention and 49 in juvenile detention.
“I am proud to have served for more than 44 years as a law enforcement officer, and it has been an honor and privilege to serve as chief of police in two great cities and to work with so many dedicated and professional officers and civilian employees,” Broadfoot said. “I ask that you continue to support these men and women as they endeavor to carry out their mission to protect and serve.”
Broadfoot said he has been planning for his retirement for a long time.
“When I started working at age 15, I accepted the fact I would be working until full retirement age (now 66),” Broadfoot said. “I never made any other plans.”
City Manager Ken Larking said Broadfoot told him last year that he was contemplating retirement and the timing of this announcement will allow Danville to conduct a comprehensive search for the best possible person to be the next police chief.
"Danville has been fortunate to have Chief Broadfoot lead our Police Department for the past several years," Larking said. "The importance he places on integrity and professionalism within the department has served this community well and will pay dividends for years to come."
Broadfoot began his career in law enforcement in 1973 as a patrol officer with the Waynesboro Police Department. He served in every division, including SWAT team commander, and was promoted through the ranks. He obtained his master’s in public administration in 1986 and in 1990 was named chief of police, leading a staff of 67 employees.
In March 2003, he joined the City of Danville as chief of police. During his tenure, he has championed and expanded efforts to leverage data and technology to increase productivity, transparency and accountability and build trust with the community. In July 2016, he was invited to the White House to deliver a presentation to other chiefs on the benefits of open data. The presentation was part of the President’s initiative on “Advancing 21st Century Policing.”
Mayor John Gilstrap said these efforts serve as a model for policing today.
“We live in a time that is increasingly challenging for law enforcement across the nation,” Gilstrap said. “We cannot thank Chief Broadfoot enough for the strong partnerships and strategic programs he has in place.”
During Broadfoot’s tenure as chief of police in Danville, the department also has seen reductions, adjusted for population, of 11 percent in overall crime and 27 percent in major crime. Broadfoot credited the decrease in major crime to the application of community policing strategies, especially problem oriented policing.
Broadfoot said the challenges for the next police chief will be staffing vacancies and stemming the recent growth of violent gang crime. He said the Comprehensive Gang Model program the city is currently pursuing is the best strategy to address the issue.
He has served as parliamentarian for the board of directors and on multiple committees for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, presided as president of regional and state chief of police associations, oversaw construction of a 1,700-member police academy, and served as a community college and police academy instructor. He also has authored numerous articles and presented at various law enforcement conferences.
Broadfoot’s immediate plans after turning in his badge are to continue to remain engaged with family and volunteer activities.