Strasburg captain named town’s next police chief

STRASBURG — Strasburg Police Department  Capt. Wayne Sager is going to become the  town’s next police chief.

In a unanimous decision, the Town Council on Tuesday chose Sager following a brief search among town employees. The search started after Police Chief Tim Sutherly announced his plans for retirement.

According to Town Manager Wyatt Pearson, Sager is the only person who applied for the position.

The decision has been known among members of the council for about a week. On Wednesday, council members met in a closed session to discuss and interview Sager.

According to Pearson and Mayor Rich Orndorff, that closed-session discussion ended with a consensus among the council members. But because the town had not advertised the discussion, council members could not officially make a decision.

Due to the earlier consensus, council members spent little time discussing their decision before voting. Orndorff opened Tuesday’s meeting by announcing the unofficial decision to hire Sager.

“I’ve had the privilege and the honor to offer the job to a town manager, and now I’ve had the privilege to offer the job to a police chief,” Orndorff said.

The council vote follows a tense exchange last month between Sutherly and Orndorff. Orndorff announced that he would be placing two law enforcement officials — including Shenandoah County Sheriff Timothy C. Carter, who Sutherly had almost ran against for sheriff — onto the police chief search committee.

Later that night, Sutherly shot back at Orndorff, accusing him of trying to place a family member into the position. Orndorff said that he brought up that someone was interested in the position but denied that he had tried to place the person into the job and denied that the person was a family member.

During Tuesday’s  meeting, Orndorff dismissed the earlier exchange as “much ado about nothing.”

“The process has been honed,” Orndorff said. “And I want to thank the committee and each member of the committee.”

During the meeting, council member Kim Bishop stated that she had opposed hiring Sager during the closed session because he was the only candidate.

She said she just wanted to make people aware that she had wanted to take the process forward.

But Bishop voted for the measure, saying that she thought Sager would do well in the position.

“I fully support Captain Sager,” Bishop said. “I think he’s going to do a great job.”

Sager will begin work as chief sometime between Jan. 11 and Jan. 31.