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Retired VSP Colonel Gerald Massengill Receives the Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement Award

August 11, 2010 | VACP

News Image Colonel W. Gerald Massengill, retired Virginia State Police Superintendent, will be honored on August 10, 2010, with the VACP/VPCF Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement Award.

The award will be presented during the Valor Awards Banquet at the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference. The Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement Award recognizes one person's conspicuous act or achievement in the performance of a duty that results in an exceptional and responsible contribution to law enforcement.

Retired Colonel Gerald Massengill has dedicated more than half a lifetime to serving the Commonwealth of Virginia as a public safety professional. He is recognized among his law-enforcement peers for his steadfast commitment to being effective and fair. When asked by a newspaper reporter in 2005 about what motivates him, Colonel Massengill stated, "Being in the position to think outside the box and take calculated risks to better promote a cause." For this 68-year-old Dinwiddie County resident, there is but only one cause - serving and protecting the great Commonwealth of Virginia.

Colonel Massengill served for 37 years in the Department of State Police, rising to the level of Superintendent in 2000. Colonel Massengill served until October 2003 as the leader of the statewide police force, which at that time included more than 2,500 employees and an annual budget of $212 million.

During his extensive tenure with State Police, Colonel Massengill was known for his calm, kind, and compassionate demeanor. Even upon joining the Department, his fellow 45th Basic Session Trooper Trainees recognized his leadership traits by electing him class president. His State Police career took him to riots, floods, coal workers' strikes, labor disputes, demonstrations, horrific crash and crime scenes, and hostage situations.

His most memorable experiences came as Superintendent: the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and the D.C.-Virginia sniper shootings. He credits such incidents and the lessons learned from each one as helping mold his leadership style and personal philosophy - "To do things the right way, but to always do the 'right' things."

When Colonel Massengill retired from State Police in 2003, he accepted a request from the Virginia Public Safety Foundation to serve as its executive director. In May 2005, former Governor Mark R. Warner asked Colonel Massengill to serve as the interim director of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF). He accepted and found himself at the helm of a state agency embroiled in controversy. However, his competent and firm leadership helped the agency regain its footing and credibility within the public eye. In the fall of 2006, Director Massengill officially retired from state government - again.

In 2007, Governor Timothy M. Kaine sought out Colonel Massengill to lead an eight-member panel charged with investigating various aspects of the Virginia Tech school massacre. The panel, under his steady direction and guidance, succeeded in providing comprehensive recommendations that have since been enacted into law and prompted substantial changes in state and school policy.

During his tenure in law enforcement, and his service on the Virginia State Crime Commission, Colonel Massengill always has considered what was best for Virginians and Virginia law enforcement. He has worked closely with federal, state, local, campus and special law enforcement agencies to promote professionalism and cooperation in the public safety community. In recognition of his exemplary and dedicated service, Colonel W. Gerald Massengill is the 2010 recipient of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police Award for Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement.


The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is a statewide organization of federal, state and local police chiefs and law enforcement executives dedicated to improving the professionalism of police agencies in Virginia. The Association was founded in 1926 and has more than 600 members. The Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation is a charitable educational foundation created by the VACP to provide training and education programs for law enforcement executives.

Contact: Ms. Dana Schrad, Executive Director
Mobile: (804) 338-9512