Virginia Capitol Police exhibit opens

RICHMOND – The dream of Dorothy P. Seawell and others will come to life Aug. 27 when the Virginia Capitol Police hold an opening for an exhibit that pays tribute to the 400th anniversary of the agency.
Monday's 10 a.m. event, open to the public and the media, will be held in the exhibit space just inside the Virginia Capitol's entrance at 10th and Bank streets.

Dorothy Seawell's late husband, Capt. William A. Seawell, served as the chief of the Capitol Police from 1961 until his retirement in 1970, and after he passed away, his widow loaned an extensive collection of his uniforms, papers and other memorabilia to the agency in the hopes of it one day becoming part of an exhibit focusing on the division's history.

Dorothy Seawell is expected to attend the opening of the exhibit, which also incorporates research undertaken in recent years by academic interns from Virginia Commonwealth University's History Department, who helped the Capitol Police detail history dating to its formation in 1618 at the first permanent English settlement in Jamestown.

The exhibit, curated by the Library of Virginia, also features custom uniforms from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries as well as three authentic uniforms from the 19th and 20th centuries, two of which were the actual uniforms of Captain Seawell and Colonel Anthony S. Pike, the current chief.

Capitol Police also were able to partner with the Virginia Capitol Foundation and Capitol Square Preservation Council to create a holiday ornament that represents the agency's 400th anniversary. The ornament will be on display as well in the exhibit, which is to remain in place until the opening of the 2019 General Assembly in January.

Monday's exhibit opening coincides with the start earlier that day of the National Legislative Services and Security Association's 2018 Professional Development Seminar, being held at venues in and around Virginia's Capitol Square. The seminar, which runs through Thursday, brings together roughly 100 legislative and parliamentary security professionals from around the globe for presentations from experts on such subjects as emergency preparedness, crowd management, threat evaluation and protecting diverse government facilities.

"It's a source of great pride that we're able to bring together so many leaders in the field to Richmond for a few days to work at improving our capabilities, and we're especially proud to be able to share with them this exhibit detailing the rich history of the Division of Capitol Police," Pike said. "Many people made significant contributions to the exhibit, and I think that will be obvious to everyone who comes out to see it."

After Monday's opening, the exhibit will be open to visitors seven days a week. Visiting hours vary depending on the time of year. For the most up-to-date information, visit and click on the "Visiting Capitol" link.


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