ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Roanoke Police Chief Tim Jones will retire February 1, 2020, the city announced Thursday. He became chief in 2016.
An announcement from the City of Roanoke says, ” The City Manager thanks Chief Jones for his more than 39 years of service to the citizens of Roanoke, the last three serving as their Chief of Police.”
The statement from the city also said a nationwide search for Jones’ replacement would begin soon.
Jones released the following statement about his upcoming retirement:
On Tuesday August 20th, I submitted to the Office of the City Manager a letter advising him of my intention to retire effective February 1, 2020 with 39 years of service. It has been a privilege to serve the City of Roanoke, especially the last three years as Chief of Police. I am thankful for the continuous community and business support of the Roanoke Police Department. I ask that the community continue to support these men and women of RPD who work tirelessly each day to keep this community safe. It has been my honor to be their Chief of Police.Roanoke Police Chief Tim Jones
Jones’ tenure as chief has seen controversy. In February, he caused a stir when he made comments in a public meeting that some said cast blame on victims of sexual assault. The chief issued a statement apologizing for how his comments were perceived.
“The offenses of rape and sexual assault are offender based and should never happen to women in our society,” Jones said. “My response to council concerning the increased instances of rape were not intended to hurt or lay blame towards any victim.”
“We were concerned that he did not understand how sexual assault happens, how rape happens, the power dynamics. We were concerned he doesn’t understand how gun violence happens,” said Catherine Koebel, an organizer with community group Roanoke Indivisible and an outspoken critic of Chief Jones.
The police chief’s year also included highlights, like when he and other officers were credited with pulling a man experiencing mental distress from a bridge.
“That perfectly characterizes Chief Jones. When I say his legacy was that he was this police officer that worked his way up to chief, he’s still a police officer. Responding in that way is exactly what you would expect to come from Chief Jones,” said city manager Bob Cowell.
Cowell says the search for a new chief of police will be a national one and that the city will use a search firm to assist in the efforts. He also says community input will be sought.