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JUST IN: Alexandria Police Chief Don Hayes announces departure

Alexandria Police Chief Don Hayes is stepping down to take a new federal job, the city announced today. His last day is Feb. 9, and Assistant Chief Raul Pedroso will be interim police chief until a replacement is hired in a national search.

Hayes has been police chief since 2022, before which he was acting chief for a year after the departure of former Chief Michael Brown. He started his career with the Alexandria Police Department in 1981.

“It’s been an honor to dedicate my life to this community,” Hayes said. “I truly believe there is no greater calling than to serve on behalf of the people. Doing so alongside the men and women of this department for the past four decades has been my greatest accomplishment.”

Hayes’ new position has not been publicly announced. City Manager Jim Parajon called him a “capable” leader and “committed public servant.”

“He built upon years of experience to lead APD through some challenging times including ever-increasing demand for services,” Parajon said. “We wish him well in his next endeavor.”

Hayes restructured the department to resemble how it looked before his predecessor Chief Brown took over, by hiring three assistant chiefs and replacing a civilian assistant chief. The city also experienced a crime surge under his watch, and the department suffered diversity and morale issues.

According to the city:

Hayes joined the Alexandria Police Department in March 1981, and achieved the rank of sergeant in 1996, overseeing the community-oriented policing and internal investigations sections. In 1999, Hayes was promoted to lieutenant and led the special operations, information services, and public services divisions. He was promoted to captain in 2013 and served as patrol commander, in addition to heading the parking enforcement, traffic, special events, and community relations divisions. He was promoted to assistant chief in 2019 and has since used his diverse experience to oversee all parts of the Police Department. In December 2021, he was named acting Chief, and made Chief in April 2022.

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