Roanoke County selects new police chief to lead department

by Shawn Nowlin

Michael Poindexter, Chief of Police

Roanoke County has a new Chief of Police and he’s a familiar face.

For 28 years, Michael Poindexter served as an officer, sergeant, and commander within the department. In addition to also serving as the Assistant Chief of Police, Poindexter supervised the professional standards unit and Services Division and Crime Prevention too.

On January 1, 2023, Poindexter will officially be sworn in as the Roanoke County Chief of Police. Poindexter’s predecessor, Chief Howard Hall, announced his retirement in September.

A nationwide search was conducted by the County to fill the position. After rounds of interviews and reviewing applications, Poindexter received the approval of an interview committee led by a County Administrator. After learning he was selected, Poindexter said, “I am honored and humbled by this. I look forward to further serving the citizens of Roanoke County as well as working with the men and women who serve our community.”

Only four people have led the Roanoke County Police Department since its formation in 1990. The first African American man to hold the position, Poindexter, as chief, will be responsible for directing the activities of the department, including overseeing its 140 sworn employees and 16 civilian personnel.

Promoting from within is not foreign to the police department. Colleagues say that Poindexter rose through the ranks because of his effective tactics and hard work.

The next police chief is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley community. His parents, Richard, a career public schools educator and administrator who has passed, and JoAnn, a retired Roanoke Times reporter and beloved community resident, always encouraged their son to chase after his dreams.

After earning a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Bluefield College, Poindexter went on to participate in training such as the Institute for Leadership in Changing Times and Internal Affairs, Professional Executive Leadership School, and Managing Citizen Complaints and Employee Discipline.

Longtime Roanoke County resident Steve Williams has no doubt that Poindexter will do a great job. Anytime he has encountered the law enforcement officer out and about, Williams says pleasantries were exchanged. “My neighbors and people that I’ve spoken to all expressed they wanted a chief who looks at the bigger picture and holds individuals accountable, including himself,” he said before adding, “I’m excited to see how he will thrive in his new role.”

 In an effort to let his constituents know he is accessible, Poindexter encourages residents to engage more with the police department’s Facebook page. A devoted family man, Poindexter, and his wife have been married for 25 years.