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Strasburg police chief officially leaves position

STRASBURG — Tim Sutherly is handing over the reins as Strasburg police chief to Wayne Sager. Sager officially becomes police chief today.

In an interview on Tuesday, Sutherly said that he was proud of low crime rates during his watch.

“[Strasburg] remains the safest town in Virginia five or six years in a row,” Sutherly said. “And whether that had anything to do with me, I don’t know. I think it’s more of a reflection of the officers under me and my staff.”

During Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, council member Scott Terndrup praised Sutherly for his work as police chief, citing the safety record of the town.

“I think [Council member Don LeVine] and I are the two holdouts that were actually responsible for hiring the chief back a dozen years ago or so,” Terndrup said. “And I’m proud to say that under his watch and his tenure, we have several times been recognized as one of the safest communities in the commonwealth, and that was due to his leadership.”

Mayor Rich Orndorff also thanked Sutherly for his service.

“I certainly would like to extend the best wishes of council and the Town of Strasburg to Chief Sutherly in his retirement for his years of dedicated service,” Orndorff said.

Sutherly became Strasburg police chief in January 2007, just about a year before the recession hit the United States. That left the police department with dwindling resources, but Sutherly said that his department handled the economic hardship well.

“We went through the hardest economic time in our lifetime, and we were able to manage through it fairly well, and…we were able to increase services for the town,” Sutherly said.

Like most police chiefs across the country, Sutherly also dealt with an opioid epidemic that has only been getting worse.

He said that the police department cannot tackle the problem alone.

“You definitely need more community involvement,” Sutherly said. “And I think recently the community is getting more involved as far as the health department and things of that nature, but it’s out of control and no one has any real answers.”

Sager highlighted the opioid epidemic as one of the main things he hopes to focus on as police chief when the Northern Virginia Daily interviewed him in October.

Moving forward, Sutherly said that Sager will have to adapt to constant changes in the world, just as Sutherly said he did when he was police chief.

“Things change quickly, with the way the world is,” Sutherly said. “So you have to have a department that’s flexible and able to change with the times. And I think we’re all forced to do that.”

Sutherly ruled out the possibility of running for public office. He had previously moved toward running for Shenandoah County Sheriff but dropped his plans before making a formal announcement.

He also said that he has no plans currently and that he will stay in Strasburg.

“Right now, I’m just enjoying the family and being Mr. Mom,” Sutherly said.

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