NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Acting Chief Sharon Chamberlin has come a long way since 10 On Your Side covered her promotion to assistant chief in 2006. At the time, she was the first woman to accomplish that rank in the department's 209 year history.
As she did then, she's taking her abrupt rise to acting police chief and the significance of that role in stride.
"I don't look at it in the context of being a woman. I look at it in the context of being a police officer for a long, long, time," said Chamberlin.
The latest promotion comes at a time of turmoil. City manager Marcus Jones announced Chief Bruce Marquis's abrupt retirement less than two weeks ago. For months, controversy swirled surrounding Marquis's credit card use and his handling of the death investigation of police recruit John Kohn. During a January news conference, Marquis passed the blame to his staff when questioned on the facts of Kohn's training.
Chief Chamberlin heard his words that day and dodged questions when asked if she dropped the ball.
"I am not going to address any further questions about recruit Kohn in that situation. What I will address is making things better in the future," she said.
Chamberlin will say that lessons learned from the past will help her shape the department's future and improve its reputation in the public eye.
"Along with the right to know we also look at the integrity of the message we're sending out, making sure we have all the facts, making sure we're not jumping too quickly to offer up explanations when we shouldn't do that," she said.
Chief Chamberlin said she plans on applying for the police chief position once Jones makes it available. She believes her ideals will fit in with the bigger picture for the city.
"The expectation at this point in the city is that everybody will speak together, work together for the good of the citizens of Norfolk."
A connection, is exactly what Chamberlin feels her officers need.
"My personal philosophy is I wanna be connected to our personnel, be responsive to them reasonably, maintaining the professionalism of the organization I think the majority a large, largepercentagee would say I'm caring," she said.
She has served the department for more than 36 years, most recently as the department's Senior Assistant Chief. During her time, she was the first "patrol" woman to achieve the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, and Assistant Chief.
She also teaches Criminal Justice Ethics and Homeland Security at Old Dominion University.
Marquis' retirement doesn't officially start until April 1.
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