Petersburg names acting police chief after Dixon’s termination

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PETERSBURG, Va. -- The acting city manager of Petersburg named  William Rohde as the city’s acting police chief Wednesday after chief John Dixon III was terminated Tuesday.

Petersburg interim city manager Dironna Belton said it was her decision to relieve Dixon of his duties, but she would not explain why Dixon was let go, only saying that his services were no longer needed.

The chairman of the Petersburg Police Advisory Committee says several city council members were not aware of Dixon's termination and disagreed with the decision.

Dixon has been a law enforcement officer since the early 1980s and worked king as an officer in the city of Richmond before coming to Petersburg.

Acting chief Rohde, who has worked for the Petersburg Police Department for 39 years, most recently served as the deputy chief of field operations.

“Chief Rohde comes to our city with a long-standing commitment to public safety. Moving forward the Department will develop reforms that will bring greater fairness, independence and transparency to police timekeeping, discipline and accountability processes," Belton said. "Altogether, our comprehensive efforts will change the experience between our police and our community, and rebuild public trust. Additionally, Petersburg will continue working with the State Police to address patterns of negativity following our police department. This is non-negotiable."

Rohde said he was "honored to step in and help move the Police Department forward in a positive direction" for Petersburg.

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