During its August 8, 2017 meeting, City Council unanimously confirmed the appointment of John R. Piper as the City’s new police chief. Piper was selected by Winchester City Manager Eden Freeman to head the Police Department following an extensive search resulting in 86 applications from candidates spanning 25 states. Five finalists were selected who then participated in a rigorous interview process involving representatives of the community, outside law enforcement and management experts, and senior City staff. Mr. Piper is a 24-year veteran of the Fairfax County Police Department, most recently serving as the Academy Director of the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy.
“Chief Piper has an extensive background in law enforcement and has proven himself as an approachable and professional public servant,” stated City Manager Eden Freeman. “I have found him to be a clear communicator who understands the importance of community policing, collaboration and transparency in order to provide effective law enforcement services. I am excited to welcome Chief Piper and his family to the City of Winchester and look forward to having him join the City’s Leadership Team.”
Chief Piper’s extensive experience covers the ranks of the law enforcement profession. He began his career with Fairfax County Police as a patrol officer in the Mt. Vernon District Station in 1994, followed by assignments as a Detective in the Organized Crime and Narcotics Division; a Task Force Officer for the HIDTA DEA Task Force; Patrol Sergeant; and Patrol Second Lieutenant and Bike Team Supervisor. At the Sully District Station, Piper served in a variety of roles including Lieutenant/Assistant Station Commander and Captain/Station Commander (2008-2011). After the tragic 2006 shootings at the station, Piper provided support to family members of the fallen officers. Chief Piper has commanded several units and divisions throughout his career, including serving as the Commander of the Criminal Intelligence Division (2011-2013), where he was appointed Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Intelligence Center (NVRIC) and granted a Top Secret National Security Clearance. Piper also served as the Major and Patrol Bureau Commander for Fairfax County Police (2013- 2016), with oversight of the patrol, investigative, and administrative functions of three district stations, and a staff of nearly 400 sworn and civilian personnel. He also helped to develop the Fairfax County Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program in coordination with the community’s mental health providers and key stakeholders.
Chief Piper received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Administration of Justice from George Mason University in 2000, earned a Graduate Certificate from American University in the Key Executive Leadership Program and the Senior Management Institute for Police through the Police Executive Research Forum. Chief Piper has also successfully completed many other leadership training classes, including the West Point Leadership Development Course.
“I feel truly honored and blessed to have been selected to serve as the next Chief of Police for the City of Winchester,” stated Chief Piper. “My family and I are looking forward to joining this vibrant and historic city, and I am committed to working closely with the men and women of the Winchester Police Department and our community to continue delivering ethical and transparent police services.”
Acting Winchester Police Chief Kelly Rice will return to her role as Major for the Department.
“I sincerely appreciate all of Major Rice’s hard work and leadership while serving as Acting Chief over the past several months,” stated City Manager Eden Freeman. “During that time, she has improved operations and helped position the department for future success.”
Mr. Piper will be sworn in as the City of Winchester Police Chief on September 1 (starting salary: $115,000). A “Meet the Chief” public open house will be held on Wednesday, September 20 from 4:00-7:00 pm in Jim Barnett Park’s Active Living Center Social Hall, 1001 East Cork Street, Winchester.
The Winchester Police Department has 101 employees, 77 of which are sworn officers and is a Virginia accredited law enforcement agency. The Department handled approximately 46,000 calls for service in 2016 with an average response time of 3.65 minutes for emergencies. Community outreach activities include citizen academies, Teen Night at the YDC, National Night Out, holiday food and toy drives, Honor Guard, Kids and Cops Camp and more.