Roanoke appoints Tim Jones as new Chief of Police

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Shayne Dwyer/WDBJ7

Tim Jones has been named the new chief of the Roanoke City Police Department and he's a familiar face to the local community.

Jones has been serving as the acting chief since former chief Chris Perkins retired in March. Jones has worked for the police department since 1981 and began as a patrol officer on the streets.

He graduated from William Flemming High School and has always wanted to be a police officer, considering his newest appointment the ultimate honor.

The department considered internal and external candidates for the position. After the extensive search, City Manager Chris Morrill and Mayor Sherman Lea made the announcement Tuesday morning citing it was best to keep Jones in the position. Both men said finding the right fit for the job was critical, especially considering the current atmosphere departments across the country are operating in.

Morrill's announcement packed the north lobby of the Noel C. Taylor Municipal Building downtown, with Jones' wife, Roanoke City Fire Chief David Hoback, Roanoke County Police Chief Howard Hall, Roanoke City Sheriff Tim Allen, and Salem Police Chief Mike Crawley all in attendance. Morrill added the show of support solidified the continued support among agencies in the valley.

Jones' four months as interim chief were as good as gold. Morrill said there was stiff competition and extensive interviews with members representing a wide variety of city departments.

"It's quite an honor and privilege to be the Chief of Police in this city," Jones said.

The search for the next chief went coast to coast with applicants coming from 18 states. Police Department members and the community gave their input, which ultimately led them back home.

"Chief Jones has the academic background, extensive police experience, and probably most importantly, he knows the Roanoke community, he's a part of the community, and that's what's so critical to us at this time," Morrill said.

A critical reminder for safety echoed by badges shrouded in black for the Dallas officers. In the news conference today Jones acknowledged the fact that now more than ever being an officer of the law is difficult.

Jones has a personal reminder of his own of what officers face; his uncle was shot and badly injured responding to a call as a Roanoke officer in the early 1970's. Jones said the safety of the community and his officers are the most important.

"I remember that (phone) call in the morning, it was my mom's brother, and it retired him," Jones said. "I don't want to ever have to make that call."

Jones was at his side when then Chief Chris Perkins led Roanoke into data driven and community policing. It's something Jones plans to build on now that he's in charge.

"If there ever was a time (for us) to need to be engaged around policing, that time is right now," Mayor Lea said.

Jones said the way to do tit is for his force to remember one rule; we are citizens first, officers second.

"Before we were afforded the opportunity to represent others, we are too citizens, we can't lose track of that," Jones said. "We need to continue to engage the community if we have disagreements we disagree professionally not personally because we lose control of our ability to rationalize to when we make the personal battles."

The two Chief Deputies under Jones have yet to be named, but Jones said that announcement should be forthcoming sometime soon.Jones' first act of duty as Chief was signing paperwork and diplomas for next week's graduating recruit class.

"I can't think of a better way to start out my career (as chief)," Jones said.

Here is the news release from the City of Roanoke:

At a press conference held in the north lobby of Noel C. Taylor Municipal Building on Tuesday, July 12, Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill announced that Tim Jones has been selected as Police Chief for the City of Roanoke. Jones has been serving as Acting Police Chief since March 2016. This announcement culminates a four-month national search and recruitment process, which included gathering input from various organizations within the community and using a citizen interview panel with participants who reflect Roanoke’s diversity. From the 42 applications received 11 finalists were selected. After video interviews, four candidates were invited for onsite interviews of which three were interviewed by the citizen panel, technical panel (which included Chief Kelvin Wright from the City of Chesapeake) and the city manager.

“I am pleased that after an extensive national search, we found the right candidate in our own department. Tim Jones has the professional experience, academic background, and deep knowledge of the community to lead the Roanoke Police Department during these challenging times. I look forward to working with Chief Jones as we continue to build a safer community through stronger relationships with our citizens and neighborhoods,” said Morrill.

Jones, a William Fleming High School graduate, holds a B.S. and M.S. in Criminal Justice from Radford University, and 35 years of progressive law enforcement experience. Since he came to work for the city in 1981as a patrol officer, he has been promoted through the ranks to hold positions including crime analyst, records sergeant, patrol sergeant, evening watch lieutenant, community policing – lieutenant, executive officer – lieutenant, patrol bureau captain, services deputy chief, operations deputy chief, deputy chief of investigative services, and acting police chief.

Jones’ professional affiliations include the Blue Ridge Chiefs of Police, Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, Professional Executive Leadership School Alumni Association, and the FBI National Academy Associates.

As Police Chief, Jones will direct the full activities of the Police Department staff of approximately 300 employees, of which 248 are sworn. He will also serve on the city’s Leadership Team and will serve as the city’s representative working to build stronger relationships with law enforcement agencies in the region and throughout the Commonwealth. Jones will begin serving as Police Chief effective immediately.


The Roanoke Police Department will announce the city’s new police chief on Tuesday morning.

The announcement is at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the north lobby of the Municipal Building.

WDBJ7 plans to live stream the announcement. Click in the video player above to watch live.

Tim Jones has been serving as acting chief since Chris Perkins retired on March 1.