The first female police chief in William & Mary’s 321-year history will take command next month. Deborah “Deb” Cheesebro will begin her new post Sept. 15.
Cheesebro has extensive experience in community policing, threat assessment, emergency management, victim assistance, strategic planning, and organizational development. She comes to the college from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where she served as both senior director of police, public safety and emergency management and director of police and public safety. In these positions Cheesebro led UNCSA’s efforts related to police services, security, parking, emergency preparedness and response and oversaw the school’s Business Continuity Plan.
“Chief Cheesebro possesses an impressive blend of the knowledge, skills and experience needed to lead a campus police force in today’s environment,” said Anna Martin, vice president for administration. “I am confident she will quickly become a valuable and valued partner in our community.”
Prior to her time a UNCSA, Cheesebro served as deputy director for the department of police and public safety at the University of Michigan from 2001 to 2006. Before coming to higher education Cheesebro was a law enforcement training specialist for the Michigan State Police Academy and a deputy sheriff with Michigan’s Ingham County Sheriff’s Office.
“I am thrilled to be joining the William & Mary community,” Cheesebro said. “This university is a great match for me personally and professionally. This opportunity pulls together everything I have worked on in my career from community policing to operational excellence. From the standpoint of law enforcement, I believe there are few environments more challenging than college campuses and none that are more rewarding.”
Cheesebro is a member of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Emergency Managers and the North Carolina Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.
She holds a doctorate in organizational behavior and development from Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio; a Master of Science in criminal justice from Michigan State University and a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from West Virginia State University. Cheesebro is also a graduate of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators Executive Development Institute as well as numerous other management, leadership, incident command, and law enforcement training programs.
The William & Mary Police Department is a full-service police department. Cheesebro succeeds Donald Challis who left William & Mary to take a position at South Dakota State University. Captain Ed Schardein has been serving as interim chief since Challis’ resignation in March.