Prince William County Police Department

The Prince William County Police Department (PWCPD) is a full-service police department, which provides the full spectrum of police services to the entire county. PWCPD[1] began operations on July 1, 1970, and it has been fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) since 1987. PWCPD is divided into three districts, Eastern District, Central District and Western District.

Prince William County Police Department
Agency overview
FormedJuly 1, 1970
Annual budget$114 million (FY20)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionPrince William, Virginia, USA
Map of Prince William County Police Department's jurisdiction.
Size348 square miles (900 km2)
Governing bodyCounty (United States)
General nature
HeadquartersManassas, Virginia
Police Officers673
Agency executive
  • July 1, 2010 (40th Anniversary)
  • CALEA TRI-ARC Excellence Award & Enhanced Certificate of Meritorious Accreditation
Official Website

The Prince William County Police Department has primary jurisdiction in all towns within the county, including Dumfries, Occoquan, Haymarket, and Quantico. However, these towns all have their own limited service police departments, and these town police departments use East OPS (Channel 2) on PWCPD radios when patrolling. Like the county police, they use Channel 1 for Records/Vehicle/Driver/Want-Warrants information while performing tasks such as traffic stops. The County Police department also has limited enforcement jurisdiction in the independent city of Manassas through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Radio communication

ADMIN, Records/Info County-wide. EAST 1, East Patrol (Eastern District "Gar-Field" Station) WEST 1, West Patrol (Western District "Manassas area" Station) EAST 2, East Patrol Used between the approximate hours of 1800 and 0200 for the section of the Eastern District that includes Dale City and Lake Ridge.

There are numerous other 800 mHz. talk groups, used for specialized units or for major incidents and special events. Interoperability is robust, with most Northern Virginia jurisdictions (except the VSP analog system).

Divisions and bureaus

Chief of Police

The Chief of Police is the commanding officer of the Department and has the obligation to provide efficient and effective police service to the citizens of Prince William County. The Chief is responsible for the planning and direction of all Department activities, and is the final authority in all matters of policy, operations and discipline. Falling within the Office of the Chief are the Planning and Budget Office, the Public Information Office, the Internal Affairs Office, the Chaplain Program, the Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) Team and the Citizen Police Academy Alumni.

    • The Planning and Budget Office manages the accreditation process, provides all computer services to the Department, and oversees its purchasing and payroll functions.
    • The Public Information Office coordinates news releases to the media concerning Department activities and criminal incidents, maintains the Department's Web site, coordinates with the Prince William County Crime Solvers organization, and produces the Annual Report.
    • The Internal Affairs Office investigates allegations of misconduct by Department personnel and all use-of-force incidents.
    • The Chaplain Program assists police officers in making notifications to families, assists those families as needed, and also assists police officers as needed.
    • The CISD Team helps emergency services workers handle stress after critical incidents.
    • The Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association is an interactive organization linking police officers and the citizens they serve.

Support Services Division

The Support Services Division provides support services to the Operations Division and the Criminal Investigations Division. Falling within the Support Services Division are the Administrative Services Bureau, the Identification Bureau, the Personnel Bureau, the Criminal Justice Academy and Public Safety Communications (which is jointly administered by the Department of Fire & Rescue).

    • The Administrative Services Bureau handles all evidence and property coming into the possession of the Department, enforces the Taxicab Ordinance and the Solicitor/Peddlers Ordinance.
    • The Forensic Sciences Bureau provides fingerprint identification services, crime scene investigation services and photographic services; collects and processes evidence from crime scenes; participates in the Northern Virginia Regional Identification System (NOVARIS), as well as the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) and LiveScan equipment.
    • The Personnel Bureau is responsible for the recruiting, processing and selection of applicants to the Department, coordination of police volunteers and the career development program, department physical examinations and supervision of the polygraph function.
    • The Criminal Justice Academy conducts all basic and in-service training for police officer candidates and police officers. It also coordinates all citizen training such as the Citizen Police Academy.
    • Public Safety Communications is responsible for all aspects of communication for public safety employees, including 9-1-1.

Operations Division

The Operations Division is responsible for maintaining police officers in constant operational readiness for immediate response to any call for service requiring police presence. Nearly two-thirds of the Department's personnel are assigned to the Operations Division, which includes the Patrol Services Bureau, the Special Operations Bureau, Evening Operations, the Animal Control Bureau and the Crossing Guard Bureau.

    • The Patrol Services Bureau provides 24-hour patrol officer coverage throughout the County. Patrol officers are generally the first response to any type of police call for service and are prepared to respond to any emergency. The Bureau is divided into an Eastern District, a Western District and Evening Operations.
    • The Special Operations Bureau manages the activities of the Department's specialized operational units which include the Mounted Patrol Unit, K-9 Unit, Traffic Safety Team, Search & Rescue Team, Crash Investigation Unit, Honor Guard, the SWAT Team, SCUBA Team, the Civil Disturbance Team, the Marine Unit and the Crime Prevention Unit.
    • The Animal Control Bureau enforces animal welfare laws, conducts animal education seminars, houses stray and unwanted animals in a clean and safe environment and coordinates the adoption of housed animals.
    • The Crossing Guard Bureau is responsible for traffic direction at school crossings and conducts parking enforcement.

Investigations Division

The Criminal Investigation Division investigates major criminal offenses and manages the Department's juvenile education programs. Falling within the Criminal Investigations Division is the Vice and Narcotics Bureau, the Criminal Investigations Bureau and the Juvenile Bureau.

    • The Special Investigations Bureau investigates illicit drug activity in the County and participates in drug enforcement task forces at the local, state and federal levels.
    • The Criminal Investigations Bureau investigates major offenses such as burglary, robbery, rape, homicide, auto theft, aggravated assaults and domestic violence complaints.
    • The Juvenile Bureau investigates offenses committed against juveniles and manages the Be Aware Program and the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program.

Mistaken identity concern

The Prince William County Police Department found itself in the news in July 2017 for issuing an arrest warrant for Lucky Whitehead, a player in the National Football League. At the time of the incident, Whitehead, a local native of Manassas, Virginia, was a player for the Dallas Cowboys. On June 22, 2017, officers from the Prince William County Police Department arrested an individual for petit larceny who verbally provided the name Rodney Darnell "Lucky" Whitehead Jr. to officers. The officers from the Prince William County Police Department did not validate the individual's identity via a government issued photo identification, nor did officers take a mug shot of the individual at the time he was arrested. Subsequently, an arrest warrant was issued for Whitehead for failure to appear in court. At the time of incident in Virginia, Whitehead was in the state of Texas, a fact not investigated by Prince William County officers. As a direct result of the arrest warrant, Whitehead was released from his contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

A spokesman for Prince William County police, Jonathan Perok, issued several contradictory official statements on the matter. In July 2017, the final statement from Perok indicated that Prince William police still do not know the true identity of the individual they arrested and, "The police department is working with the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney's Office to clear Mr. Whitehead from this investigation. The police department regrets the impact these events had on Mr. Whitehead and his family."[2][3][4]

Fallen officers

Since the establishment of the Prince William County Police Department, 4 officers have died in the line of duty.[5]

Officer Date of Death Details
Officer Paul Thomas White Jr.
Saturday, October 27, 1973
Automobile accident
Officer Philip Michael Pennington
Thursday, November 22, 1990
Officer Chris Yung
Monday, December 31, 2012
Motorcycle accident
Officer Ashley Guindon
Saturday, February 27, 2016

See also


  1. Boren, Cindy (25 Jul 2017). "Police clear former Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead after false accusation and arrest warrant". Washington Post. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  2. Chiari, Mike (25 Jul 2017). "Lucky Whitehead Charges Dropped, Arrest Warrant Revoked Due to Mistaken Identity". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  3. Florio, Mike (25 Jul 2017). "Police: Lucky Whitehead's identity was "falsely provided" during arrest". NBC Sports. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
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