Old Dominion University announces the selection of R. Garrett Shelton as Chief of Police

Shelton joined the ODU Police Department as captain in 2015 after 28 years in Portsmouth. He has been serving as Interim Chief since April 2022. Shelton is a VACP Certified Law Enforcement Command Executive.
Following an extensive national search, R. Garrett Shelton has been selected to serve as Old Dominion University's chief of police, effective April 25, 2023. Shelton has an extensive and commendable career in Hampton Roads law enforcement for more than 36 years and has led the University's Police Department as interim chief since April 2022.

Shelton earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Saint Leo University and Master of Legal Studies from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. He is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy. Shelton was recently certified as a law enforcement command executive by the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police. He was part of an inaugural class of law enforcement executives to complete a rigorous examination of training, education, command experience and public service to receive this distinction, and the first campus police chief to be recognized with this certification. His education is complemented by a high degree of expertise in campus law enforcement and public safety operations. While enriching professional connections across local and regional communities and governmental organizations, Shelton consistently maintained a proven record of strong leadership and investigative expertise.

Shelton began his career with the Portsmouth Police Department and has continued long ties in Hampton Roads. Starting in 2004, Shelton held numerous command positions with the department as captain and interim assistant chief of the Operations Bureau. He demonstrated commendable service in investigations, tactical operations, special operations, and uniform patrol units throughout his 28 years with the Portsmouth Police Department. Shelton then joined the ODU Police Department as captain in 2015. As interim chief, he has upheld responsibility for the administration of operations for the University's police department and the highest level of safety for students, faculty, staff and visitors through leadership and executive oversight of the nationally and internationally accredited police department.  

In the role of chief of police, Shelton will continue to serve as a valuable member of the Division of Administration and Finance leadership team and work to maintain collaborative relationships with community stakeholders across the institution, Hampton Roads and the commonwealth. This will include continuing to lead in the University Police Department's IACLEA (International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators) re-accreditation and CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) accreditation.

In being selected to lead the ODU Department of Public Safety, Shelton said, "I am honored to serve as the chief of police for the nationally and internationally accredited law enforcement agency at Old Dominion University and with those who seek to provide the highest quality education and research opportunities for students. During my tenure with the Old Dominion University Police Department, I have established valuable partnerships with members of our community. My priority is to enhance those partnerships and to provide a safe learning and living environment for our students, faculty, and staff that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion.” 

The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and Foundation, Inc. (VACP) and the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (VACLEA) led the national search by providing strong support and expert guidance throughout the entire process. Executive Director Dana G. Schrad shared the following about the search and selection: “ODU received many applications from highly qualified candidates, and the process to narrow the field was challenging. In the end, Chief Shelton demonstrated the level of knowledge, experience and commitment that made him a stellar candidate for the position. We are confident that the ODU Police Department is in excellent hands with Chief Shelton.”

In addition to the expert lens of the commonwealth's law enforcement community, Shelton's selection would not have been possible without the time and effort of many, including the Search Committee. The ODU Division of Administration and Finance's Chief of Staff and Assistant Vice President for Administration JaRenae E. Whitehead chaired the institution's Search Committee and brought the national search to a successful conclusion. Much appreciation is given to the search committee: Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs & Strategic Initiatives Kate Hawkins, Director of Emergency Management Jared Hoernig, Interim Associate Vice President for Finance and University Controller Maggie Libby, Associate University Counsel Teressa Murrell, Associate Vice President for Research John Nunnery, Chief Information Security Officer Doug Streit and Associate Dean of Students Fred Tugas. This group of campus constituents complemented VACP's expert law enforcement lens to ensure Old Dominion University recruited a chief of police with a unique mix of municipal and campus law enforcement experience that will benefit the University's ability to continue to develop innovative law enforcement strategies and community outreach programs that will enrich the campus-life experience for students, faculty and staff.  

Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer Chad A. Reed expressed his profound appreciation to the law enforcement community, as well as campus representatives who participated in this important process. “On behalf of Old Dominion University students, faculty, and staff, I am delighted to announce Garrett Shelton as ODU's chief of police. His selection process required considerable time and incredible effort of many, including those internal and external to Old Dominion University. With Chief Shelton's extensive experience in campus law enforcement and community-policing strategies for crime prevention planning, as well as his proven success in working with a variety of federal, state, and local partners, he is fully equipped and well suited to ensure the safety and security of our campus community now and into the future.”

President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. said, “Chief Shelton is a consummate professional and a dedicated member of our immediate campus and the broader community.  He has a strong commitment to service and an unwavering passion for the mission and work of our institution, as well as the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff.  I am confident that he will continue to lead the University's Police Department with pride and purpose, while making a positive and significant impact on all facets of Old Dominion's operations and outreach!”


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