JUST IN: Arlington Police Chief to Retire in September

After previously announcing his intention to retire by the end of the year, Arlington County Police Chief M. Jay Farr is now making it official.

Farr announced today that he will retire just before Labor Day, on Friday, Sept. 4.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the residents, businesses, and visitors of Arlington County,” Farr said in a press release this morning. “I am incredibly proud of our officers and their efforts to maintain a high level of public safety across our community.”

Farr was named police chief in May 2015. He has presided over a department that has largely kept crime levels and allegations of police misconduct low, despite recruitment challenges, population growth and tight budgets.

More recently, however, the department has seen an uptick in crime, an increase in complaints about police conduct, and calls for police reform amid local and national protests.

The County has convened a new “Police Practices Group” to “ensure that the Arlington County Police Department is current with policing best practices and continue to build trust between our police and the community.” The group is expected to start meeting in August.

Arlington is launching a national recruitment effort, with a goal of hiring a new police chief, either in late December or in 2021.

The full County press release about Farr’s retirement is below.

Police Chief Murray “Jay” Farr announced that he would retire on September 4th, after serving in the Arlington County Police Department for 30 years. Chief Farr has provided leadership as Arlington’s Chief of Police since May of 2015.  During his time as Chief, he has focused on community engagement, transportation safety, and crime prevention & control.  Chief Farr also launched the Arlington Restaurant Initiative, a partnership between the County, businesses and the community to offer a safe destination for nightlife and entertainment.  “It has been an honor and privilege to serve the residents, businesses, and visitors of Arlington County”, stated Chief Farr. “I am incredibly proud of our officers and their efforts to maintain a high level of public safety across our community.”

County Manager Mark Schwartz noted that “Chief Farr has provided outstanding leadership and has been instrumental in advancing community policing across Arlington County.”

In addition to his role as Chief of Police, he served in a variety of positions in the Arlington Police Department, including assignments as, Deputy Chief of Police for Systems Management, Operations, and Criminal Investigations. He also served as Arlington County Acting Deputy County Manager. He has also been an active member of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, serving as the Chair of the Police Chief Committee.

“On behalf of all County Board members, I want to thank Chief Farr for his years of exemplary service in one of the toughest jobs, Chief of Police. Jay has guided our police force into 21st Century community policing”, noted County Board Chair Libby Garvey.  “He has made ACPD one of the most respected police departments in the region and positioned us well to work with our community as we transition into the next era of policing and public safety that makes everyone feel safe.”

Prior to joining the ACPD in 1990, Chief Farr worked with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service where he conducted complex criminal investigations concerning fraud against the United States government. He is also a U.S. Marine veteran, where he served with the Presidential helicopter unit.

Chief Farr earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from George Mason University. He has participated in advanced educational programs at the Naval Post Graduate School Center for Defense and Homeland Security, the FBI National Academy, and the Senior Institute for Police Management, a collaborative program with Boston University and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.  Chief Farr serves as an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University, where he teaches a curriculum of criminal justice and emergency management for law enforcement.  He is also a graduate of Leadership Arlington

National Recruitment for New Police Chief

The Arlington County Manager will be launching a national recruitment effort for a new Chief of Police this fall.  Initial steps will seek input from the community and there will be no final decision until sometime after the work of the newly formed Police Practice Group (PPG) is completed in December.