Former Rappahannock sheriff to become Superintendent of the Virginia State Police

Gary Settle a familiar face around the county

Gary T. Settle

Sperryville resident Gary Settle, a widely respected former sheriff of Rappahannock County, will become the new superintendent of the Virginia State Police.

The appointment was announced today by Virginia Gov.-elect Ralph Northam at a news conference in Richmond.

In a statement coinciding with his appointment, Settle said: “For the past 32 years, I have had the extraordinary privilege of serving the great Commonwealth of Virginia and its citizens in a law enforcement capacity. I see this opportunity as a means of advancing the department’s proud legacy that Colonel [Steve] Flaherty has upheld during his tenure as superintendent, as well as assisting the new administration with achieving its public safety goals and objectives in the years to come.”

Flaherty pointed out that he will be retiring from the State Police with more than 42 years of service under his belt.

“I have been blessed to work with the most professional and dedicated population of employees any organization has ever mustered together,” the superintendent said, adding of his Sperryville colleague, who he’s worked alongside for decades:

“I applaud Lieutenant Colonel Gary T. Settle on his appointment . . . and am confident that his extensive public safety experience and esteemed level of professionalism will be of tremendous benefit to the department and all those living, working, and visiting Virginia.”

Flaherty said he’s known Settle since he was a trooper-trainee, when the superintendent was a sergeant at the Virginia State Police Academy.

As for his immediate agenda, Settle put forth these goals: “Ensuring that State Police personnel, programs, policies, technologies, training, and equipment are up to the task of sustaining and meeting the demands of an ever-changing society will be of priority.”

On a personal note, he added: “My wife, Kelly, has been beside me through my journey with State Police, and she and I are excited to begin this new chapter. I will accept nothing less of myself than to serve with valor, service, pride, and integrity.”

It was just this past January that the State Police announced that Settle would become the new leader of its Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). His previous promotion came just 18 months before, in 2016, when Flaherty appointed him as BCI’s deputy director.

Before that, Settle had served as the BCI commander for the Culpeper field office.

Settle began his law enforcement career in 1984 as a deputy with the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office. He joined the State Police in 1986 and was assigned to Frederick and Clarke counties as a new trooper.

In 1996, he was elected sheriff in Rappahannock County, but then in 2000 he returned to the State Police. During his tenure as a trooper, Settle has served as a special agent, sergeant, first sergeant, field lieutenant, DES lieutenant and captain, all while assigned to the Culpeper and Wytheville divisions of the department.

Settle earned a master’s in homeland security and defense from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., and holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration. He also completed the University of Virginia National Criminal Justice Command College and the National Sheriffs Institute Executive Management Program in Colorado.

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John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at