Prince William County is getting ready to say goodbye to one of its most notable public figures.
Police Chief Charlie T. Deane, 66, announced his retirement as chief Wednesday. The longest serving chief of the Washington region will officially step down Sept. 1, leaving the department searching for a worthy replacement.
"He's a great role model," said public information officer Jonathan Perok, who has worked under Deane for four years. "It's hard to live up to everything he's accomplished in his life and his career."
Deane has been with Prince William since the department's inception in 1970. He has spent 24 years as the department's chief, seeing the county through massive population expansion and growth within the department itself. He was also head of the department through some of the county's most difficult and notable cases.
"We've faced a lot of things, and through his leadership, we were able to get through them," Perok said.
Deane led the police department through high profile cases such as the 1993 Lorena Bobbitt case, in which a woman amputated her husband's penis, and the "East Coast Rapist" case. He was also at the department's helm during the 2002 D.C. Sniper ordeal, when Jon Allen Muhammad went on a three-week killing rampage through the Washington area. (Muhammad killed 10 people before being arrested, and he was put to death by lethal injection in 2009.)
Deane has also been instrumental in department policy. In 2007 he helped persuade the Prince William County Board of Supervisors to change policy that made the county one of the first in the nation to require the department to question residents about their immigration status. Today, officers only ask about a resident's immigration status after an arrest has been made.
Deane has served as a Virginia state police trooper, a criminal investigator and a deputy police chief. "He's one of a kind," Perok said.