The Collegian
Friday, June 21, 2024

New chief wears many hats

David McCoy will be the new chief of police for the University of Richmond.
David McCoy will be the new chief of police for the University of Richmond.

Student needs are important to the new chief of police.

When David McCoy was little, he never dreamed of being a police officer.

But McCoy said it was the timing and choices he made upon graduating that led him to an almost 26-year career with the City of Richmond Police Department and has now brought him to the University of Richmond as associate vice president for public safety.

A self-pronounced "people person," McCoy said his favorite part of his job was interacting with others.

"That's the beauty of the profession -- you get out and you talk to people," he said.

McCoy grew up in Buffalo, NY, and attended Canisius College in downtown Buffalo, where he majored in political science and minored in criminal justice. He later received his Master's degree in criminal justice from Virginia Commonwealth University.

McCoy ran track and played football as an undergraduate student. He was a sprinter for both outdoor and indoor track seasons throughout college and played football for three years.

He said that college sports had been important to him.

"The concept of policing was very similar to athletics whereas you go into your event or you come into work," McCoy said.

He said policing was very similar to athletics in the sense that one went to work, put on a uniform, performed and later took the uniform off. Having this mindset has allowed McCoy to keep his policing world separate from the rest of his life, he said.

Now, McCoy must balance his job with his family. His wife, Sharon, works as a nursing director and the couple has three children -- 13-year-old twin boys, Ryan and Colin, and Brennan, an 18-year-old freshman at Old Dominion University.

McCoy's new job as associate vice president for public safety also requires balancing as it encompasses policing, security, parking, emergency management, safety and risk management and transportation (which is a new part of the position).

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"[McCoy] has a knowledge in all of these areas, which is something that you don't find very often in a person coming in to take over a vast umbrella that he has been asked to take over," police captain Buddy Norton said.

The associate vice president for public safety position was recently created after former chief of police Robert C. Dillard retired in June. Norton served as interim chief of police until the position was filled. McCoy began working at the university on March 1.

McCoy said he had worked through every rank at the City of Richmond Police Department and his new position had arrived at the right time and was a good fit for him.

"Here, it's a great opportunity for me to advance my career, so that was one of the reasons why I really wanted to pursue this position," McCoy said.

Each workday is different and there really is no standard day, McCoy said. Although the policing part of his job was expected, he said he was also spending time learning transportation, risk management and emergency management.

McCoy said that he would like to find a way for students to receive the transportation they needed to go to cultural and commercial events and to volunteer.

"There's a tremendous amount of activity going on that Richmond students could, should, be exposed to, be involved with," McCoy said.

McCoy said the police department would continue to educate students and be responsive in notifying people if any incidents were to occur that were similar to the break-ins last semester.

"But my biggest goal is trying to figure out what the student body wants," McCoy said.

McCoy has not had time to talk to every student about what they want, but he is looking forward to interacting with them, he said.

Norton, who has known McCoy for about 10 years, said McCoy was someone who remembered you after he met you.

"It's like he knows you and you become a long-lost friend to him," Norton said.

Contact staff writer Michelle Guerrere at

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