Chief Beach Takes Command
Kent Booty Associate Editor
Longwood University’s new police chief has commanded the hostage negotiation unit and the police academy of the state’s largest police department and also has been a SWAT officer, a K-9 handler and a law enforcement consultant.
Robert R. "Bob" Beach was with the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) from 1977 until retiring in March 2002. He became a hostage negotiator in 1981, took over the hostage negotiation unit in 1985 and ran it until he retired. He worked with the K-9 unit for nine years as a handler and supervisor, was commander of the Reston District station (one of nine), was assistant district commander, twice ran the traffic division, and finally, after becoming one of only eight majors in 2000, ran the FCPD’s criminal justice academy.
Beach began his career with the Lynchburg Police Department in 1970. He became a sergeant before leaving in 1975 for the Herndon Police Department in Northern Virginia. He worked for that police force for 18 months, including his stint as a SWAT officer, until switching to the FCPD.
Since leaving the FCPD, Beach has worked as a senior consultant to several national and international consulting organizations dealing with leadership development and training. He and his wife, Lorraine, started their own consulting company, FifteenOct, in 1997. "However, my consulting work now will take a back burner and won’t affect my ability to do this job," he says.
Beach, who moved to Buckingham County in 2001, became interim chief of police Aug. 16. Following a national search, the "interim" label was removed about two months later. The Longwood Police Department encompasses 15 officers (including the chief and an investigator), six dispatchers, six part-time officers who work on an on-call basis for special events, as well as the ID Center and the parking office.