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Roanoke County police chief Ray Lavinder will retire Nov. 1

August 27, 2011 | Virginia News

News Image Lavinder was president of the VACP from 2007-2008.

Roanoke County Police Chief Ray Lavinder, the dean of the region's law enforcement, said he will retire after a 39-year career that included the creation of the county police department and a landscape that changed from rural to suburban.

Lavinder, 65, said Friday that he will leave Nov. 1. He's been chief for 14 years and oversaw the creation of a police academy and the school officer program. He admitted he won't see some projects to completion.

"Look at my age. Look at my face," Lavinder said with a laugh in his office. "It's time to go."

Assistant Police Chief Terrell Holbrook, 53, will become acting police chief when Lavinder leaves, said County Administrator Clay Goodman, the chief's boss. Holbrook is a 31-year veteran of the department.

The county has begun recruiting for a permanent chief and will form a selection committee to screen candidates, Goodman said. The process will take four to six months, he said.

Lavinder is the longest-serving chief in the Roanoke and New River valleys. He started patrolling the streets of Arlington County in 1972, after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he studied social science education, and in 1979 moved to the Roanoke County Sheriff's Office.

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