The University of Virginia Police Chief, Tommye Sutton, has been placed on paid leave. University spokesman Wes Hester would not go into detail on the suspension, describing it as a “personnel matter.” Sutton reports to Gloria Graham, the University’s Associate Vice President for Safety and Security. Both leaders joined the University of Virginia last year and previously worked together at Northwestern University.
Sutton’s role as police chief has been described by UVA Today as “planning, directing and managing the comprehensive law enforcement and administrative components of the UVA Police Department.” Sutton succeeded former Chief Mike Gibson, who retired in 2018 after leading the department for nearly 13 years.
According to The Daily Progress, Sutton has been on leave since at least the first week of September, though the reason remains unclear.
Deputy Chief Melissa Fielding will serve in Sutton’s place during his suspension. Fielding has served for 26 years on the University Police force, including three years as captain. She was promoted to her current role in 2019 following a national search.
Fielding previously served as interim chief between Gibson’s retirement and Sutton’s arrival in August 2018. At the time, Graham expressed confidence in Fielding.
“I am grateful to Capt. Fielding for taking on this additional responsibility, and for the dedication, leadership and commitment she brings to UPD,” Graham said.
This is a developing story. Check back soon for updates as more information becomes available.