From staff and contributed reports
Eighteen-year Virginia State Police veteran and Rappahannock native Gary T. Settle became the VSP’s newest captain last week.
As he was promoted to be one of only 14 field captains in the force — and one of the few division commanders whose promotion didn’t require him to move, other than to an office down the hall at the Culpeper field office — Settle said he felt “fortunate to have been selected, and very thankful that I’ll be able to stay here at home.”
Settle, 48, formerly a lieutenant heading the Culpeper division’s field operations bureau — the uniform bureau — replaces Rick A. Jenkins, who was earlier made deputy director of the state police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) in Richmond.
His new post puts him in charge of the BCI unit of the Culpeper division — Division Two, in VSP parlance. The division’s BCI unit, about half the size of the 130-person field division, is composed of general and specialized investigative units and task forces.
VSP’s investigative arm consists of seven field offices around the state. Within each field office, there is a General Investigation Section (GIS) and a Drug Enforcement Section (DES). The Bureau also consists of the Criminal Intelligence Division, Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Interdiction Unit and the High Tech Crimes Division. The Culpeper Field Office covers Culpeper, Madison, Orange, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Fauquier, Rappahannock, Clarke, Frederick, Warren, Page, Shenandoah, Rockingham and Green counties, and the cities of Fredericksburg, Winchester and Harrisonburg.
Settle, who lives in Sperryville and also serves on the Rappahannock County Planning Commission, began his 27-year law enforcement career in 1983 as a deputy with the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office, primarily for Sheriff John Woodward. After joining the state police in 1986, patrolling until promoted to sergeant in 1992, he returned to the county after a successful bid in 1996 for county sheriff. In 2000 he returned to the state police, where he’s also served as a supervisor in the Wytheville field office.
Settle attended George Mason University and Bluefield College, and is also a graduate of the University of Virginia National Criminal Justice Command College and the National Sheriff’s Institute Executive Management Program given in Longmont, Colo. Settle is currently working on his master’s in public administration.
Settle has been involved in numerous high-profile investigations and incidents, including the 2002 sniper shootings and 2007 Virginia Tech crisis.
Settle said he was “very humbled to have been selected for the position . . . Acquiring the rank of captain is a very competitive process. To be selected as captain is one thing, but to be promoted and remain at your current duty station is rare,” he said.
Settle moved a few doors down the hall, and nowadays will more often wear a coat and tie rather than a uniform.
He said “the responsibility of the new position brings excitement and new challenges,” but pointed out that he’s happy to be able to continue working with the division’s other law enforcement agencies and officers. “The sheriff’s departments, police departments and commonwealth attorney’s offices are tremendous to work with.”
Settle said the state-police sponsored task forces, created to address drug- and gang-related crime, are a good example of cooperation between the state police and local law enforcement. “Quite frankly, those exist because we do have cooperating agencies involved. Without them, we could not sustain them.”
Settle attributes his successes throughout his law enforcement career to, “No. 1, the unconditional support of my wife, Kelly Jo Settle, and secondly to fellow law enforcement officers who have served as mentors. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by great family and positive role models,” he said.