News & Politics

Local Sheriff Appointed to Governor’s School-Safety Task Force

Virginia governor Bob McDonnell chose Loudoun County’s Mike Chapman to help in efforts to improve safety at schools and college campuses.

The Virginia governor has appointed Loudoun County sheriff
Mike Chapman to a task force designed to improve safety at schools and college campuses in the

Chapman, who was elected sheriff in November 2011 after a 23-year career in the Drug
Enforcement Administration, will join more than 40 lawmakers, state officials, educators,
students, and others also named to the task force. The group will study existing school
safety procedures, identify weaknesses, and recommend improvements.

Bob McDonnell issued an executive order establishing the task force on December 20, less than a
week after a gunman shot and killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary
School in Newtown, Connecticut. In 2007, a Virginia Tech student shot and killed 32
students and faculty at the university’s campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.

“After the tragic shootings in Connecticut, our command staff met with command staffs
from state and local police as well as with Loudoun County Public School officials
to review our security procedures,” Chapman said in a statement announcing his appointment.
“We will be able to bring ideas shared during these meetings to the governor’s task
force. We want to make certain, together, that we continue to do everything possible
to ensure your child’s safety, and the safety of the entire school staff.”

The task force will meet for the first time in Richmond on January 14. Its final recommendations
are due on June 30, and are intended to be implemented before the start of the new
school year.

Governor’s Task Force on School and Campus Safety


The Honorable Marla Decker, Secretary of Public Safety

The Honorable Laura Fornash, Secretary of Education

The Honorable Bill Hazel, MD, Secretary of Health and Human Resources


The Honorable Ken Cuccinelli, Attorney General of Virginia

The Honorable Joseph Yost, Virginia House of Delegates

The Honorable Margaret B. Ransone, Virginia House of Delegates

The Honorable Patrick Hope, Virginia House of Delegates

The Honorable Tom Garrett, Senate of Virginia

The Honorable Richard Stuart, Senate of Virginia

The Honorable George Barker, Senate of Virginia

Patricia Wright, EdD, Superintendent of Public Instruction

Donna Michaelis, Director of the Virginia Center for School Safety

Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Superintendent of the Virginia Department of State Police

Garth Wheeler, Director of the Department of Criminal Justice Services

Mark Gooch, Director of the Department of Juvenile Justice

Michael Cline, State Coordinator of the Department of Emergency Management

James W. Stewart, III, The Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and
Developmental Services

Maureen Dempsey, MD, FAAP, Acting State Health Commissioner

Peter Blake, Director of the State Council on Higher Education

Sarah Gross, PTA Legislative Liaison

Michelle Wescott, Nurse, Rena B. Wright Primary School; PTA Health and Safety Chair

Vincent Darby, Principal, G. H. Reid Elementary School, Richmond

Keith Perrigan, Principal, Patrick Henry High School, Washington; President, Virginia
Association of Secondary School Principals

Dr. Deborah Pettit, Superintendent, Louisa County Schools

Dianne Smith, Member of Chesterfield School Board; Retired Principal

Leonard Steward, Lexington City School Board

Regina Blackwell Brown, Educational Specialist for School Counseling, Henrico County
Public Schools

Meg Gruber, Teacher, Forest Park High School, Prince William; VEA President

Judi M. Lynch, PhD, Principal, Saint Gertrude High School

Dr. Sandy Ward, Director of the School Psychology program, College of William & Mary

Dewey Cornell, Professor of Education, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia;

Director, Virginia Youth Violence Project

Charles J Klink, Assistant Vice Provost and Vice President for Student Affairs, Virginia
Commonwealth University

Sheriff Brian Hieatt, Tazewell County

Sheriff Mike Chapman, Loudoun County

Chief Jim Williams, Chief of Police, City of Staunton

Chief Don Challis, Chief of Police, College of William and Mary

Joel Branscom, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Botetourt County

Chief Steve Cover, Fire Chief, City of Virginia Beach

Edward “Bubby” Bish, Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads

Captain Steve Carey, Stafford County Sheriff’s Department (former School Resource

Gene Deisinger, Deputy Chief and Director of Threat Management, Virginia Tech

Charles Werner, Charlottesville Fire Chief (Member of Secure Commonwealth Panel)

Allen Hill, Father of Rachel Hill, Victim of Virginia Tech Shooting

Alexa Rennie, Student, James River High School

Jillian McGarrity, Student, Lynchburg College

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.