BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR)– The Blacksburg Police Department announced its new chief of police.

Capt. Todd Brewster will begin serving once current Police Chief Anthony Wilson retires on July 1.

WFXR News’ Kelsey Jean-Baptiste had the opportunity to sit down with Brewster to talk about his goals when he takes over the position.

“This is a calling. This is not a job,” said Brewster.

Born and raised in Tazewell, Virginia, Brewster has quite the resume. He attended Radford University and the FBI National Academy.

During his career, Brewster served as a volunteer firefighter for Christiansburg and Blacksburg and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the New River Valley Alcohol Safety Awareness Program.

“I met Chief Wilson, who’s retiring, in the fire department. Both of us served here in Blacksburg,” said Brewster.

In 1977, Brewster’s police career began with the Blacksburg Police Department, where he started as a dispatcher and worked his way up the ranks.

He stayed as a police officer up until 2013, that’s when former Chief Kimberley Crannis promoted Brewster to sergeant. He stayed on the patrol side of sergeant for a while before transferring to criminal investigations in 2016.

“One of my first big cases was Nicole Lovell’s case as a criminal investigation sergeant. I was in criminal investigations for two years then got promoted to lieutenant,” said Brewster.

From there he became a “police services captain,” where he oversaw criminal investigations unit, accreditation, and community outreach.

“It’s an honor to have been selected to serve the citizens of Blacksburg and to lead one of the finest
law enforcement agencies in the country,” said Brewster. “I will continue building upon Chief
Wilson’s many accomplishments, by expanding our outreach and engagement efforts, and recruiting a diverse police department reflective of our community.”

He says this department has really invested in him and has given him many opportunities, helping him become a well-rounded individual when it comes to his police career.

Brewster says that when he takes over the position he will try not to make changes immediately, because when a former chief leaves a lot needs to be discussed before moving forward. However, once he gets settled into the role, he plans to focus on community communication.

“Bring back our bike patrol and foot beat patrol, especially in our business where our officers can speak to business owners and managers,” said Brewster.

He believes better communication between local bar owners and managers is important because they can easily find out if a student is in trouble or if someone is in danger. He stated that policing in a college town is different than in other municipalities because the department’s main focus is on the students’ safety.

Brewster went on to say that one issue he is facing is staffing.

“Hiring. Hiring is a big concern because a lot of people no longer want to be in law enforcement just due to what was transpired throughout our country,” said Brewster.

He tells WFXR News that the best way to combat this is to get more police officers in the community and counties to raise morale and educate as many people as possible. He adds that showing residents that Blacksburg police officers are people who you can speak to and get to know is important in building trust in the community.

Many community members are excited to see Brewster take the helm, including Marc Verniel who is the town manager.

“I congratulate Todd Brewster on being selected to serve Blacksburg in his new role as chief of
police,” said Verniel. “He has the skills to lead the department into the future and will continue to build upon the relationships he and our police officers have established in our community. I look forward to working with Chief Brewster in his new role.”