By Joe Beck -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Front Royal town officials announced the appointment Friday of Major-Chief Deputy Norman A. Shiflett of the Warren County Sheriff's Office as the town's new police chief.
Shiflett, 54, will be taking the place of retiring Chief Richard H. Furr when he begins work on Sept. 10.
In brief remarks before a gathering of friends, family and fellow law enforcement officers, Shiflett thanked Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron "for the opportunities which have paved the road to my success and enabled me to be one of the finalists for this position."
Shiflett said he was committed to "an open-door policy, and I welcome all citizens input."
Shiflett, a town resident, has spent the last four of his 28 years in the department as chief deputy.
In an interview after the press conference, Shiflett said he has been considering applying for police chief for several years if the opportunity came along.
He said he "gave it a lot of thought" three years ago when former Chief Ronald A. Williamson left the department but did not apply then.
"If I had let this opportunity go by this time, I would not have had the opportunity to be police chief," Shiflett said.
Shiflett said he became familiar with the Front Royal police when "he worked the streets with them for years" during the early part of his career. His interactions since becoming chief deputy have been mostly with the department management, he said.
Asked about any changes he may make in the department, Shiflett said he planned to "evaluate the operations of the Front Royal Police Department and make changes as needed."
Furr, who had earlier said he preferred that the new chief be chosen from the department ranks, said he supported Shiflett's hiring. Furr said he had no role in choosing Shiflett, except for reviewing the 30 or so applications received from around the nation before they were turned over for winnowing by Town Manager Steve Burke and Julie Bush, the town's director of human resources.
Furr and Shiflett chatted casually for a few minutes and wished each other well after the press conference.
"It will be a good mesh for our department," Furr said. "Everybody in our department is familiar with Norman. I'm sure they'll do a good job for him."
"We've got a good group of officers in the department," Furr added. "They're dedicated, and they'll continue to move the department forward."
In a press release accompanying the announcement, Burke described Shiflett as someone with "extensive training and experience including supervisory training, crime scene management, neighborhood and community police management, incident management and other pertinent law enforcement operations."
Shiflett said he received his initial training at the Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Training Academy in Weyers Cave and also graduated from the FBI's National Academy.
Shiflett's duties with the Sheriff's Office have included overseeing the agency's 124 deputies, communications officers and civilian employees.
His resume also lists him as a member of the Red Cross, Front Royal/Warren County Coalition and Fraternal Order of Police.