Colonel Robert R. Beach, director of public safety & chief of police at Longwood University, has announced his plans to retire at the end of this academic year.
Beach, also known as “Chief Beach”, began his time here at Longwood in 2007, obtaining his current position as chief of police at Longwood. Prior to coming here, he served in law enforcement in Lynchburg and Northern Virginia.
Beach said, “I have been doing this for almost 50 years, and in my time, I have done just about everything you could imagine. I began in 1970 in Lynchburg and rose to the rank of Sergeant before moving to Northern Virginia where I became the chief of police.”
Chief Beach retired in 2001 before moving to Farmville and joining the Longwood University Police Department in 2007. When he came here, Longwood’s police department was very different from what it is today, primarily focusing on more security efforts than law enforcement. But shortly after he arrived, the entire function of the police department shifted.
On April 16, 2007 there was a mass shooting at Virginia Tech, a college not too far from Longwood. Chief Beach says this shooting and the aftermath changed how universities all across the country, including Longwood, changed their police departments.
Beach said, “My task was to become 80 percent law enforcement and 20 percent security post the Virginia Tech shooting. Our goal is to serve and protect our community.”
Since coming to Longwood, Beach has taken on multiple initiatives to improve the safety and well-being of Longwood’s campus, including installing video surveillance cameras and starting a new campus-wide alert system. Initiatives such as these have helped create a safer atmosphere and learning environment for students at Longwood.
Beach said, “I’m very proud of the initiatives we have taken and how far we have come as a department during my years here in Farmville.”
Vice President for Student Affairs Tim Pierson, who is Chief Beach’s supervisor, reflected on his time at Longwood.
He said, “Chief Bob Beach is a dedicated professional whose expertise in the field is among the best in the country. Today, much like any other day, he is on the clock 24-7 for Longwood.”
The most enjoyable aspect of his job he said has been working with students and seeing a successful resolution of concern. He enjoys seeing students who have struggled in the past learn and grow from their mistakes, and being a resource to students on Longwood’s campus.
Although he is sad to be retiring, Beach knows that the next person to take his position will be just as eager and well-trained as he was when he received this job 13 years ago. Pierson said they have yet to set a specific date for when they will start the search, but it will be set in stone by the end of the fall semester.
Chief Beach’s official retirement date is set for July 1, 2020.