D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham is leaving the Metropolitan Police Department to head up the Prince William County, Virginia, police department, the county’s board of supervisors announced Tuesday.
Newsham, expected to start his new post on Feb. 1, will succeed Lt. Col. Jarad Phelps, who has served in an interim role since Chief Barry Barnard retired in June.
“We are happy to welcome Chief Newsham to Prince William County and the level of expertise he brings to the position,” County Executive Chris Martino said in a press release.
Newsham, a 31-year veteran of MPD, has been chief of the department since January 2017, succeeding Cathy Lanier, who he served under as deputy.
“I am excited to join the team and look forward to making a difference in the community,” Newsham said, WUSA-TV (Channel 9) reported.
D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said the announcement caught him off guard, but that the council will assist Mayor Muriel Bowser in finding a replacement.
“I am as surprised as everyone else at the news of Police Chief Newsham’s decision to leave MPD,” Mendelson said in a statement. “I am sorry to see him leave after roughly three decades — a lot of service to the citizens of the District.
“Yet this presents an opportunity to try new approaches to law enforcement and new strategies to fight violent crime,” he said. “We’re losing a good cop, but sometimes a fresh face can be a good, too.”