Suffolk Police Chief to hang up his badge in October

Published 3:34 pm Friday, September 15, 2023

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In a Facebook post on Wednesday, SPD Chief Al Chandler, Jr. announced his retirement effective Oct. 1. Chandler has been chief since Jan. 7, 2022, and served as interim for a year and a half before his appointment.

“IT IS FINISHED! I am please[d] to announce that effective Oct. 1, 2023, I am officially retired from the Suffolk Police Department,” the post reads. “It has been an amazing pleasure of mine to take care of the citizens of this city. This has been in process for a while, and today, it is official.”

Chandler highlighted a few of his accomplishments while leading the department and noted the announcement is “bittersweet.”

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“Some parts bittersweet, but overall, it was an amazing ride,” the post reads. “I had the chance to lead our city through major civil unrest without a single arrest and not $1 of damage in our city. I lead our agency through an officer-involved shooting, the death of a supervisor and friend, and arguably the largest pandemic in our nation’s history. We, as an agency, conducted the largest Indictment sweep in the history of the city. We are changing to a lighter, more comfortable uniform. I introduced cancer awareness badges, and we provided better options for mental health-related issues in our department. I could not have done that without the support of some great officers and citizens.”

Suffolk Mayor Mike Duman commended Chandler on his time as police chief and credited him with many accomplishments during his time on the job. One of those accomplishments was the establishment of the Public Safety Program.

“I want to thank Chief Chandler for his service to our city and congratulate him on his well-earned retirement,” Duman said in an email to the Suffolk News-Herald. “During his tenure, Chief Chandler and his staff were responsible for implementing multiple initiatives and processes that improved the safety and quality of life of our citizens. Chief Chandler did an admirable job navigating through the challenges of the COVID pandemic, as well as addressing mental health issues within the department. In addition, Chief Chandler has been instrumental in assisting with the establishment of the newly formed Public Safety Committee.”

Chandler started with the police department on April 16, 1999, and attended the Chesapeake Police Academy’s 40th Session, where he graduated with honors and served as class president. During Chief Chandler’s time with the department, he has held many specialized certifications such as Field Training Officer, General Instructor, SWAT Operator, Certified Crisis/Hostage Negotiator, and Evidence Technician. Chief Chandler spent most of his time in law enforcement, working within the Investigations Division, where he worked in various positions. Chief Chandler also served as the Special Operations Lieutenant, where he led the School Resource Officer Program, Canine Program, Honor Guard, Fatal Crash Reconstruction Team, Marine Patrol, and Search and Rescue Team. Chief Chandler is a Virginia Army National Guard veteran, where he served honorably for seven years with specialties in Field Artillery and Petroleum Supply.