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Prince William County Hires D.C. Police Chief to Lead Police Department

Future Prince William County Police Chief Peter Newsham.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VA – The Prince William Board of County Supervisors is excited to announce the hiring of Peter Newsham as the new Police Chief for Prince William County. The announcement comes following a nationwide search with a public survey and competitive hiring process. His expected start date is February 1, 2021.

“We are happy to welcome Chief Newsham to Prince William County and the level of expertise he brings to the position,” said Prince William County Executive Chris Martino.

Chief Newsham is currently the Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., and has held that position since 2017.  Washington, D.C., is a community of over 705,000 residents within 68 square miles and a Police Department of 4,500 total employees.

Chief Newsham joined the Metropolitan Police Department in 1989 and progressed steadily through the ranks to his present rank of Chief of Police.  Prior to his current appointment, Chief Newsham served in various capacities within the department – Assistant Chief of Police Investigative Services Bureau, Assistant Chief of Police Internal Affairs Bureau, Assistant Chief of Police 

Regional Operations Command North, Assistant Chief of Police Office of Professional Responsibility and District Commander. “Chief Newsham brings a wealth of experience and leadership to this position,” said Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chair-At-Large Ann Wheeler.

Chief Newsham earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the College of Holy Cross, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law. He is a member of the Maryland Bar. He has attended numerous police executive trainings and seminars and is actively involved in the Major Cities Chief’s Association and the Police Executive Research Forum. Additionally, he has attended the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) training on Law and Society, and the ADL’s National Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Israel.

“I am excited to join the team and look forward to making a difference in the community,” said Chief Newsham.
Chief Newsham was selected as the top-ranked candidate after a national recruitment process.

The County received 50 applications from 16 states and Washington, D.C.

The Process:

Prince William County launched an exhaustive five-month recruitment effort in search of the right person for the Police Chief position. The County government received 50 applications from 16 states plus Washington D.C. in a national recruitment effort for the position. GovHR USA, a national recruiting firm specializing in government hiring, was retained by the County to assist with this recruitment effort.

GovHR USA gathered input from the Board of County Supervisors, County Executive, and the Police Citizens Advisory Board, and surveys of both members of the Police Department and residents of the County prior to advertising for the position.

GovHR USA posted the Police Chief position with 19 focused recruiting sites and through targeted emails. They also reached out to 352 tailored applicants in the Midwestern and Eastern states. Over 6,000 GovHR USA job seekers received an email announcement as well. GovHR USA then conducted a comprehensive screening of all 50 candidates, narrowing down the field to the top 15 candidates to be reviewed by the County Executive. The 15 remaining candidates completed three essays on topics relating to present-day Policing practices.

The County Executive reviewed and considered all the information provided in narrowing the candidate pool to the top six who were invited to participate in the Zoom interviews conducted by the County Executive and a very diverse panel assembled for this purpose. Panel members included Elijah Johnson, Deputy County Executive; Michelle Robl, County Attorney; Amy Ashworth, Commonwealth Attorney; Glenn Hill, Sheriff; and three PWC residents active in the community and very familiar with law enforcement.

The panel evaluated all the information provided by the candidates, including their essay responses, and evaluated each candidate’s response to questions asked during the formal Zoom interview. The strongest four candidates moved forward by the County Executive to be interviewed in person by the Board of County Supervisors.

After a comprehensive interview process, the Board of County Supervisors selected and appointed Peter Newsham to be the next Prince William County Police Chief.  Chief Newsham will start with the County on February 1, 2021.

“We are very excited to have Chief Newsham join the Prince William team as our new Police Chief,” said Prince William County Executive Chris Martino. “The experience he brings to PWC will continue our long-established tradition of providing excellent policing services to the residents and businesses of Prince William County.”

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