On Monday November 19, 2012, the Halifax Town Council Personnel Committee conducted the final interview for the Chief of Police position and concurred with the recommendation of the VACP Interview Panel and Town Manager Carl Espy with the approval of Mayor Dick Moore to hire Kevin Lands effective 12-03-12 at the annual salary of $42,000 as advertised.
Mr. Lands scored as the top candidate based on the evaluations conducted by the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP) Interview Panel and the VACP recommendation for the Town of Halifax Police Chief Position. 12 applicants submitted their names for the chief's position by the 09-15-12 deadline with 5 candidates selected by the VACP Panel for interviews. The Chiefs serving on the Panel ranked the top 3 candidates based on their evaluations stemming from the interviews. Serving on the VACP Interview Panel were A.J. Panebianco, Chief of Middleburg, VA, Chris Spare, Chief of Warsaw, VA and Dave Sloggie, Chief of Williamsburg, VA. VACP Executive Director Dana Schrad has been coordinating the application review and interview process as she outlined to Halifax Town Council on 09-11-12 working closely with Town Manager Espy, Mayor Moore and the Personnel Committee.
Kevin Lands served as the Chief of Police in Waverly, VA when he was appointed shortly after his hire as an officer in August 2008 through July 2012. Since that time he has been engaged by the Hopewell Sheriff’s Office as range master. During Chief Lands’ tenure in Waverly, he worked tirelessly to improve the effectiveness, professionalism and integrity of the department. He developed protocols and enforced a dress code to make the officers look professional. He sought training, grant funding, and advice from other professionals and greatly improved the community’s opinion of the local police force. While serving as the Chief, Mr. Lands spearheaded many community focused programs, making a positive impact on the town and the police department. In its evaluation, the VACP Interview Panel described the candidate as a strong leader who is budget conscious and a skilled grant writer. Chief Panebianco, who lead the Panel noted, “Kevin appears to understand the fine line between community policing and the need to enforce; a skill that is essential in a small police department.” Chairman of the Personnel Committee Holt Evans reflected on the decision “The selection process was very professionally conducted and therefore time-consuming, but the result couldn’t be better. Kevin Lands and the Town of Halifax will be an excellent match.” Town Manager Carl Espy supported the high expectations of the new chief to help reinvigorate the department while at the same time commending the efforts of the current full-time and part-time staff under Lieutenant David Irby’s interim supervision, noting that it has been a challenge for Acting Chief Irby, who was also considered for the position to maintain the operations of the department with limited staffing until the Chief's vacancy was filled. "I am certain Chief Lands will well with our officers interacting with them to assess the strengths of the department and areas in need of improvement. Kevin has developed a strong and natural leadership style in which he earns the respect of those with whom he serves in law enforcement", Espy said. The new Chief also scored very high in his ability to reach out to the community and to be very visible and accessible to business owners and citizens who have particular concerns about crime and safety. From his extensive work history in restructuring a police department, the new Chief has also demonstrated his ability to work with elected officials and operate effectively on a limited budget. Upon Mr. Lands accepting the town's offer for employ, Mayor Dick Moore commented, "First let me thank our Town Manager Carl Espy and our Personnel Committee working with VACP for all their hard work in finding us what I would say to be an excellent police chief. Chief Kevin Lands will bring to our community experience in all facets of law enforcement. I feel Chief Lands will be a great asset to our town and community. I welcome Chief Lands, his wife Chantelle, and sons Cody and Brandon to Halifax." Chief Lands will officially start work at the Halifax Police Department on Monday, December 3rd and will in the meantime communicate with town staff, police personnel and Town Council. Mayor Moore anticipates introducing Chief Lands and his family at the December 11th Holiday Social at Town Hall starting at 5:30 pm prior to the Town Council Work Session & Regular Meeting.
Kevin Lands "Mini" Biography:
Kevin Lands was born in 1973 and is the son of a Baptist minister father and homemaker mother. He grew up hunting and fishing with his father and two brothers and enjoys the outdoors. In 1994 he began his law enforcement career as a correctional officer and four years later became a certified police officer the City of Petersburg, VA where he was a member of the SWAT team and served on several Narcotics and Street Crimes units and was a community policing officer in the Weed and Seed unit. In 2005 he left the police force to run an armed security company and in 2008 he accepted the position of Chief of Police with the town of Waverly VA where he served until July of this year.
During his time as Chief he was awarded over $220,000 in grant funds and updated the department’s equipment, vehicles, uniforms and technology. He also instituted a revolutionary in car mobile system that has received state and national attention from the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He also instituted multiple community policing projects and reduced crime drastically.
Kevin has a wife, Chantelle Lands, and two children, Cody, age thirteen and, Brandon, age three. His family is very active in community and they take joy in helping those who are less fortunate. The Lands frequently volunteer in food pantries and recently adopted a family who lost everything during Hurricane Sandy helping to raise over $5,000 in donations and driving to New York City to personally deliver them.