Cardounel announces retirement as Henrico’s chief of police

He has led division since 2016, will retire Sept. 1 under incentive program

Henrico County Chief of Police Humberto “Hum” Cardounel Jr. announced today his plans to retire effective Sept. 1, ending a nearly 32-year career with the Police Division and four-year tenure as its leader.

Cardounel revealed his plans and underscored his gratitude to Henrico in an email to division staff, recalling how he applied to only Henrico when he sought to become a police officer. He announced no immediate plans and said he has concluded “it is time for me to pass the torch onto the next generation of police leadership.”

Cardounel said he will take advantage of Henrico’s Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program. A cost-cutting measure available during the COVID-19 pandemic, the program offers enhanced benefits to eligible employees who choose to retire.

“I started this career as a 21-year-old college graduate with little thought as to what the future held for me,” Cardounel said in his email. “I thought I would do this for just a few years, but it wasn’t long after that I realized this was my ‘home’. It felt right, Henrico was the right place for me. Nearly 32 years later Henrico is still my home and still the right place for me.”

County Manager John A. Vithoulkas praised Cardounel for his “more than three decades of outstanding service and his calm, steady leadership as chief.”

“Hum has left an irreplaceable mark on Henrico and its Police Division, having served in nearly every facet of the agency’s work throughout his long, distinguished career,” Vithoulkas said. “Hum also has demonstrated what it means to serve with heart, and Henrico is stronger, safer and eternally grateful that he selected our community as his home.”

Cardounel joined the division as a patrol officer and a SWAT Team medic in 1988. He rose through the ranks to investigator and later sergeant, command sergeant, lieutenant, captain and major. He served as deputy chief for the Patrol Bureau, led the Criminal Investigations Section, developed and implemented the Homeland Security Section, and provided leadership and service to the Training Academy, Internal Affairs Unit, Media Relations Unit, Organized Crime Section and Personnel Unit. Before his promotion to chief in 2016, Cardounel served as deputy chief for the Investigative Bureau and a member of the chief’s executive staff.

As chief, Cardounel oversees an agency responsible for providing law enforcement for Henrico’s more than 331,000 residents and a community covering 244 square miles. The division has a staff of 863 sworn and unsworn personnel and a budget of $81 million for fiscal 2019-20. Cardounel is the 16th individual to serve as Henrico police chief since 1915.

He is a graduate of Douglas S. Freeman High School and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Richmond and a master’s degree in public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Henrico plans to conduct a national search for its next police chief and expects an appointment by Sept. 1.

“What this County has done for me over my career is immeasurable,” Cardounel said. “I only hope that I have been able to give something back and that in some small way I have helped move us forward. What my HCPD family has done for me I can never repay.”

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