By Roger Bianchini
Warren County Report
At a 4:30 p.m. press conference at Front Royal Town Hall on Friday, Aug. 24, Major Norman Shiflett of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office was introduced by Town Manager Steve Burke as successor to retiring Front Royal Town Police Chief Richard Furr. Furr said his last day on the job will be Tuesday, Aug. 28. His retirement officially takes effect on Aug. 31. According to a press release, Shiflett will assume his new job on Sept. 10.
“Chief Shiflett was selected following a nationwide recruitment and selection process from a pool of over thirty qualified candidates,” according to a town press release. Information obtained by this paper indicated finalists included a retired chief from Alexandria, Virginia, a chief from Arizona, and FRPD Captain Mark Werner.
Werner, Chief Furr and Sheriff Daniel McEathron were among a large contingent of town and county law enforcement personnel present for the announcement.
“I spoke to Mark yesterday and he said he would support me 100 percent and looks forward to working with me,” Shiflett told us following the press conference.
Shiflett also said he was excited by the challenge of heading up the town police force.
“Challenges are good – you do your best work when challenged,” Shiflett said. He also said he would conduct a departmental review to gain input from FRPD personnel on any organizational changes that might be beneficial to the department. “As I said, I’ll have an open door policy for citizens and department personnel. I want citizens and our personnel to know they can come in and talk about their concerns.”
Glancing down as they shook hands following the press conference, Shiflett said, “I’ve got some big shoes to fill,” to which Furr replied, “Only size 12.”
“We’ve been together for 28 years at the sheriff’s office. He came in two years after me,” Sheriff McEathron said of the Major he is losing. “Front Royal is getting a very good man. We go to breakfast in the morning and I don’t think that will stop – we’ll just be wearing different uniforms now. I think it will be very good in strengthening the relationship between the two departments. There is a personal and professional tie there, so we’ll be able to communicate more frequently,” the sheriff said.
McEathron said he would now deal with the problem of replacing Shiflett, a process that is likely to have a “trickle down” effect throughout his department.
“I think we made a very good choice. We had strong candidates but he has served this community not only professionally, but personally too all his life,” Front Royal Mayor Tim Darr said.
The town press release accompanying the announcement, added, “Chief Shiflett is a native of Front Royal and Warren County. He has demonstrated his dedication and commitment to the community through his service in the Sheriff’s Office, as well as his participation in the American Red Cross, Front Royal/Warren County Coalition, Fraternal Order of Police, and his Church.
“Chief Shiflett has served with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office for twenty-eight years, most recently serving as the Major-Chief Deputy for the past four years. In addition, Chief Shiflett is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy. Chief Shiflett maintains an extensive training and experience background including supervisory training, crime scene management, neighborhood and community policing management, incident management, and other pertinent law enforcement operations. With the Sheriff’s Office, Chief Shiflett oversaw the proficiency, conduct, and duties of one hundred twenty-four deputies, communication’s officers, and civilian employees.
“Chief Shiflett and his wife Julie reside in Front Royal along with their children Ashley and Matthew. Chief Shiflett plans to enhance the professionalism and expertise of the Police Department through open communication, established standards, and a renewed commitment to public safety.”
THIS, WITHOUT A DOUBT, IS THE BEST NEWS WE HAVE RECEIVED FOR OUR COMMUNITY FOR LONGER THAN I CAN REMEMBER. CONGRATULATIONS TO CHIEF SHIFLETT FOR BEING RECOGNIZED AND APPRECIATED FOR A JOB HE SO DESERVES.