Howell named Smithfield Police Chief

Published 10:31 am Wednesday, July 12, 2017

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

Smithfield Police Department Deputy Chief Alonzo Howell has been appointed to take over as the next police chief for the department, following the retirement of Chief Steve Bowman.

Town Manager Peter Stephenson announced the appointment in a letter to the Town Council dated July 7, and requested they confirm the appointment at their Tuesday, July 11 meeting.

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Howell has served in the Smithfield Police Department in roles increasing in responsibility for more than 24 years, according to the letter. He first signed on in November 1992. He will be the town’s first African American chief of police, according to Stephenson. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Howell served briefly as interim police chief following the departure of Mark Marshall in 2012, Marshall having been elected as Sheriff of Isle of Wight County. Bowman was appointed as the town’s police chief later that year.

This past spring, Bowman announced to the Town Council that he would retire by July 1, after heading the department for five years.

There were 35 applicants who met the qualification requirements for the chief of police position, according to Stephenson.

Howell served in both Charles City and Surry county sheriff’s offices before coming to Smithfield, according to Stephenson’s letter to the Council, having also served in the Virginia Army National Guard from 1980 to 2004.

Howell will be the first Smithfield police chief who does not live here. He resides in Surry County. There is no town residency requirement for the position, Stephenson said in an email.

Stephenson wrote that past chiefs Marshall and Bowman have “done an outstanding job grooming our SPD executive leadership team over the years,” and that the in-house promotion of Howell would allow for additional advancement opportunities within the department.

Stephenson also wrote that he has personally worked closely with Howell for over 21 years as town manager, and attested to the deputy chief’s character and integrity.

“I am confident he will continue to serve the community in the finest tradition for many more years ahead,” wrote Stephenson.  {/mprestriction}