Tuesday, April 23, 2024

W&M Hires First Female Police Chief

Photo courtesy Wm.edu
Photo courtesy Wm.edu

For the first time, a woman will head the William & Mary Police Department.

The College announced the hiring of Deborah Cheesebro as its new police chief in a news release Friday. She succeeds Don Challis, who left the college to take a position at South Dakota State University.

Cheesebro comes to Williamsburg from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she served as both senior director of police, public safety and emergency management and director of police and public safety.

She also served as deputy director for the department of police and public safety at the University of Michigan from 2001-06. Before that, Cheesebro worked as a law enforcement training specialist with the Michigan State Police Academy and as deputy sheriff with the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan.

“I am thrilled to be joining the William & Mary community,” Cheesebro said in the release. “This university is a great match for me personally. This opportunity pulls together everything I have worked on in my career from community policing to operational excellence. From the standpoint of law enforcement, I believe there are few environments more challenging than college campuses and none that are more rewarding.”

William & Mary Vice President for Administration Anna Martin said naming the college’s first woman police chief was important, but it was not the motivation in Cheesebro’s hiring.

“The right set of qualifications to do the job is the first thing we were looking for,” Martin said. “That the new chief also happens to be a woman is an added bonus.”

Since Challis’s resignation in March, Capt. Ed Schardein has served as interim chief.

Cheesebro will officially take command of the department Sept. 15.

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