Danville promotes interim police chief Chris Wiles to head of department

Wiles was selected from among 48 candidates after a national search to replace Scott Booth, who has been credited with drastically reducing crime and repairing community and police relations in Danville.
by Grace Mamon, Cardinal News

Danville has selected Chris Wiles as its new police chief after the departure of Scott Booth, who left to become police chief in Roanoke at the end of October. Wiles has served as interim chief since then, and before that, as deputy chief. 

Wiles, who has been with the Danville Police Department for 30 years, was chosen after a national search that yielded 48 candidates. He was sworn in during Tuesday's city council meeting.

“We were able to promote from within and have somebody who's from Danville leading our department into the future,” said City Manager Ken Larking at the council meeting. 

The selection process was competitive and “grueling,” Larking said, but Wiles “came out with flying colors.”

Candidates were evaluated based on skill-assessment exercises, including a presentation, a written exercise, a simulated community meeting and a coaching role-play, according to a news release from the city. 

A North Carolina-based group called Developmental Associates LLC was hired to coordinate the search. A 13-member panel, including police chiefs from three states, vetted finalists. 

Throughout the process, Danville residents expressed their desire for Wiles to receive the promotion, Larking said at the council meeting. 

“The public has come to me often since Scott Booth left for Roanoke and told me, ‘Why are you waiting to make a decision? We all know who's the best person for the job,'” Larking said, adding that the members of the police department also think highly of Wiles.

Wiles received a standing ovation and round of applause from those attending the meeting after he was sworn in. 

“I'm so incredibly honored to serve our community and the department as chief of police,” Wiles said at the meeting. “I commit to continue to build on our success, to seek continual improvement, to build meaningful partnerships with our community and our fellow service providers, and engage our community with trust and respect that will make our community safe and secure for everyone.”

Wiles witnessed first-hand the city's drastic reduction in crime under Booth's administration, and he said he is excited to continue building on this progress. 

Danville has seen a 52% average annual reduction in violent crime since Booth implemented a policing model in 2018, according to data from the police department.

“I'm excited for the future, what we can accomplish by working together,” Wiles said, adding that he has “big shoes to fill.”

Wiles has worked for the Danville Police Department in patrol, criminal investigations and honor guard positions, as well as in the community policing unit. In addition to his previous roles as interim police chief and deputy chief, he has also served as major of the services division and major of the operations division. 

He has a bachelor's degree from Virginia Tech and a master's degree from Longwood College, now Longwood University, according to the release. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police Professional Executive Leadership School at the University of Richmond.



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