Calling the operation “seamless,” the Secret Service on Tuesday recognized the Longwood University Police Department with the highest and most exclusive honor given by the organization for its work on the 2016 U.S. Vice Presidential Debate.
The Director’s Award is given only to civilian law enforcement departments for extraordinary service at major events.
Longwood Police Chief Bob Beach accepted the award from Jerald W. Page, special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Richmond Field Office; Kerry M. Crowe, assistant special agent in charge; and agent Johnny Stinson, a Southside Virginia native who led Secret Service operations during the debate.
“This was an operation that was worth recognizing with the director’s award,” said Crowe. “From the sheer number of man-hours that went into planning to the seamless operation that we achieved together, we couldn’t have asked for a better relationship with a local law enforcement organization. These officers took on additional responsibilities in addition to their normal jobs and worked tirelessly in support of our mission.”
We couldn’t have asked for a better relationship with a local law enforcement organization.Kerry M. Crowe, assistant special agent in charge
Beach said the Longwood Police Department, working with other local law enforcement agencies, was poised to take on the challenge when the call came.
“We had spent almost a decade building the LUPD to the professional operation it is today, and I had every bit of confidence that the men and women who make up this department had the ability to carry out an operation of this size professionally,” said Beach. “The foundation for safety and security at the debate was going to fall on the shoulders of the LUPD and we accomplished what we set out to do from the beginning. This award goes to the members of this department for their immense effort. I have worked with thousands of law enforcement officers over the last 47 years—in this country and others—and I have never worked with a more competent, professional, and committed group of men and women as I do here at Longwood.”
In total, LUPD worked with more than 1,500 law enforcement officers from across the state on the security operation for the October 4, 2016 debate between then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Kaine. Drawing on local resources, the department led a joint operations command that gave leadership roles to the Farmville Police Department, Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office, and Virginia State Police.
During the debate week, there were no major incidents—a testimony to the planning and scope of the security operation.
“The stakes were raised during that week,” said Beach. “For months, our officers worked harder and smarter than ever before with some of the best law enforcement agents in the Secret Service. They all rose to the occasion—there wasn’t a man or woman in the LUPD who didn’t go above and beyond for this event—and I am proud and appreciative of their efforts. This is a well-deserved honor for the entire department.”
The Longwood University Police Department for eight years has been ranked among the best in the country by Security Magazine, the only Virginia college or university to make that list.