Charles Penn

Charles Penn Chief Arlington County Police Department

Chief of Police, Arlington County Police Department

Charles “Andy” Penn was  appointed as the Chief of the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) on June 4, 2021, following a nine-month period as the Acting Chief of Police. During his tenure as Acting Chief, Penn provided oversight, direction and strategic planning for all aspects of the Police Department. He is committed to advancing best practices in policing and identified and focused departmental efforts in several key areas including implementing a Body Worn Camera Program, establishing internal workgroups to review police practices, including creating an Bias-Free Policing policy, and legislative changes and joining area law enforcement agencies in the formation of the Northern Virginia Critical Incident Response Team. Penn will guide the agency during a transitional time in law enforcement while focusing on trust, transparency, accountability and communications.

Penn has served with the ACPD for over 30 years, beginning his career as a patrol officer in 1992. He rose through the ranks and was promoted to Deputy Chief of Police in July 2015. In this role, Penn led the Operations Division, overseeing the daily operations of two Patrol Sections, Community Resource Section, Tactical Operations Section, Operation Support Section and the Special Operations Section. He also led the Systems Management Division, which oversees the Human Resources Management Section, Support Management Section, Training Unit, Tactical Training Unit, Property and Evidence Unit, Procurement and the Fiscal Management Unit. Penn has extensive investigative experience having previously held positions in the Auto Theft Unit, Homicide/Robbery Unit and the Internal Affairs Section.

Penn is committed to being actively engaged in the Arlington community. Throughout his tenure, he has worked in numerous collaborative partnerships with community organizations, advocacy groups, law enforcement partners and government agencies. As leader of the Second District Community Policing Team, he worked to develop strong partnerships with community members and businesses to address public safety concerns. He remains committed to working collaboratively with the Arlington community to build and maintain community trust and safety.

Penn holds a bachelor’s degree from Radford University in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Security Studies (Homeland Security) from the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense & Security. He has undertaken study in several educational programs, including the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP), as well as, the FBI National Academy.

When he is not actively engaged as a member of ACPD, Penn serves as an Adjunct Professor at Marymount University and a Board Member of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police. He has been married to his wife for over 30 years and they have three adult children.