Angela Comer will take over as Longwood’s new police chief
Published 6:29 am Tuesday, August 22, 2023
FARMVILLE – Angela Comer will serve as Longwood University’s next chief of police, the school announced Monday. Selected after a nationwide search to fill the position, Longwood officials pointed to Comer’s ability to build safer communities as part of what singled her out.
“Angela is the kind of leader who naturally embraces Longwood’s mission of developing citizen leaders who are prepared to make positive contributions to society,” said Cameron Patterson. He serves as Longwood’s Vice President for Student Affairs and oversees the university’s police department. ““A defining through-line in her career that stood out to us was her ability to bring different people together to form safer communities. She’s done that at every level and at every command post, and is poised to bring that to bear here at Longwood.”
Patterson also pointed to the response she received during the interview process. As part of that, Longwood brought in a panel of current police chiefs from Virginia universities, led by the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police. After that discussion, the group members praised Comer’s service record and willingness to push the law enforcement community forward.
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Former Farmville Police Chief Doug Mooney had served in the post until Jan. 1, when he retired. Lt. Stuart Raybold has been working as an interim director of public safety since then.
Angela Comer, a second-generation officer
Comer is the second member of her family to serve in law enforcement. Her father Irving was the first Black police officer in Arlington County. He left a legacy, she said, that has informed her life and career.
“There’s no denying that I have a distinct lens through which I interact with the community around me,” Comer said. “I am a Black female in a predominately male profession and a profession that hasn’t always had a positive relationship with Black and other minority communities. But that puts me in a unique position to show people who look like me that policing doesn’t have to be what they’ve traditionally experienced, and that success in the profession is attainable. My experience serving the diverse Arlington County community and Department of Wildlife Resources constituents is no less important, which I will leverage to serve the Longwood community responsively and equitably.”
Comer is currently a captain with Virginia’s Department of Wildlife Resources, where she manages Internal Affairs, Compliance and Leadership Development. According to her record, the 25-year law enforcement veteran spent the majority of her career in the Arlington County Police Department, rising from patrol officer and school resource officer to lieutenant, overseeing the property crimes division.
During her time in Arlington County, Comer also spent six years as a detective in the special victims unit, where she investigated sex crimes, child abuse, domestic violence, stalking, and harassment cases. Comer gained national attention in 2013 due to her work on a cyber-stalking case that made ABC’s 20/20 program. The suspect received a seven-year prison sentence and Comer earned the 2013 Arlington County Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award as a result of her work.
More about Longwood’s new police chief
Angela Comer also served as Arlington County’s School Resource Officer Unit’s team leader, where she developed school safety plans and managed security at a number of events.
“In many ways, this position represents the reasons I got into law enforcement in the first place: the opportunity to affect lives in a positive way, to be an integral part in making a safe community, and the opportunity to mentor and educate,” Comer said. “My time in the classroom shaped my life powerfully, and being a part of that atmosphere has been a career goal of mine.”
She also wants the department to be engaged with campus life.
“My philosophy in policing has always been to serve,” said Comer. “In fact, I prefer to lead with words like engagement and partnership rather than policing. When law enforcement is present and engaged and we put ourselves in the position to be a part of a community rather than separate from the people we serve, we are all safer and more secure. I’m looking forward to getting to campus and meeting students, faculty, staff, parents, town and county partners, and a whole host of other folks.”
Comer starts her new position on Aug. 28.