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Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook Announces Retirement

June 28, 2016 | Virginia News

News Image City’s first African American Chief to step down Oct. 1.

The Alexandria Police Department announced late Friday that Police Chief Earl Cook will retire in October after more than 37 years of service to the city.

Cook was appointed chief of police in 2009, the first African-American to hold the position in Alexandria. He began as a police academy recruit in 1979 with APD, and worked his way up to assistant chief, in charge of managing the criminal investigations bureau.

“Chief Cook has devoted his entire career to this community, and we are indebted to him for his dedication and service,” said City Manager Mark Jinks in a statement. “Alexandria’s high quality of life and historically low crime rates are due in large part to Chief Cook’s leadership and the outstanding staff under his decades of command.”

Cook is a native Alexandrian, and grew up on Princess Street. He attended Lyles-Crouch and Mount Vernon elementary schools, Parker-Gray Middle School and George Washington High School through 10th grade. He transferred to T.C. Williams High School after it was integrated, and played on the 1971 state championship football team immortalized in the Disney film “Remember the Titans.”

“As a lifelong Alexandrian, it’s been an incredible honor to serve this very special community,” Cook said in a statement. “I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to pursue a rewarding career and work with some of the finest men and women in law enforcement. My retirement is bittersweet; however, I look forward to the future challenges in my life.”

The city has retained the International Association of Chiefs of Police to recruit Cook’s successor from inside the Alexandria Police Department and across the nation. The search will include input from stakeholders throughout the community; and officials said additional details will be announced as they are developed.

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Chief Cook's email to the Alexandria Police Department announcing his retirement:

“It is with mixed emotions that I announce my retirement from our Department. October 1st will be my last day of work with the Agency. I have dedicated two-thirds of my life to what I consider the most honorable of professions. It has been challenging, exciting and rewarding all at once. I chose to work and serve in my home town and I have never regretted that decision. The citizens I’ve worked with, the many friends in the Community allowed us to work together to make this a safe city with an enviable quality of life. The relationships close to my heart are and will always be the hundreds of APD employees it has been my honor to work with along the way. My pride in their dedication and service, especially those who gave their lives, will remain a cherished memory. For all who still work today, you are our legacy. You are the best. I leave feeling confident of each of your competencies and leadership that will expand on our past successes and reputation. I look forward to following your many accomplishments in the coming years.”