Rob Fincher was named the City of Martinsville’s Chief of Police by the city’s administration effective Jan. 1.
Fincher, 52, previously served as the city’s Deputy Chief of Police for the past five years.
In his new position, Fincher said he plans to continue and strengthen the department’s efforts in community policing.
“I have a strong commitment to community policing, and I want to ensure our officers and the public have that outstanding partnership with one another to help improve the quality of life in this community and reduce crime,” he said.
Fincher said community-oriented policing is a philosophy and not just a program. This is accomplished, in part, by increasing the citizen to officer contacts that are being done outside of calls for service.
“Those experiences of officers meeting with the public and vice versa in non-call for service types of situations makes a huge difference. It helps to improve communications between officers and the public, but it also helps to rejuvenate officers to reestablish and ensure that service mindset,” he said.
Fincher also plans to start a trust-building campaign by implementing several policies and practices, many of which the department is already doing – such as being state accredited and publishing use of force complaint and process policies.
Continued training for deescalating for officers is also on Fincher’s agenda.
“That’s something that you just can’t receive training on once. You have to do that routinely in order to make certain that mindset is in place,” he said.
Fincher also wants to hold more programs to help officers, such as setting up employee wellness programs to include mental health.
“That way, they have a resource to help them with this really stressful job,” he said.
A focus on mental health will also help to train officers on trauma and informed responses “so that they kind of have the tools necessary when they have to go into these really bad situations on how to deal with those situations on an individual basis,” the chief said.
He also plans to increase transparency between the department and the public. In addition to increased communications, Fincher plans to publish more items on the department’s website.
“We’ll publish our use of force policy, our grievance process, our complaint process – where if someone wishes to complain, provide a step by step on how to do that,” he said, adding that the department is going to participate in the National Use of Force database.
While there will be some things the department will not be able to discuss at certain times, Fincher said information will be released as soon as possible and whenever it can.
“We’re going to release as much information as possible because our relationship with our community is key.” The key element for that “is communications,” he said.
Fincher also plans to increase efforts in officer recruitment and retention.
“We are short-handed, and just like any department in Virginia they’re all shorthanded, we need to get some personnel in place that allows us to do more proactive and community-oriented operations,” he said.
A graduate of Martinsville High School, Fincher graduated from Averett College (now University) with a B.S. in Criminal Justice and Sociology. He also has a M.A. in Human Services and Executive Leadership from Liberty University.
Fincher has served as an officer for the Martinsville Police Department for more than 28 years, and in a number of positions, including patrol officer, criminal investigator, assistant supervisor and supervisor of patrol shifts, and in other capacities throughout his tenure.
He’s also received training from the Virginia Association’s Chiefs of Police (VACP) and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).
Fincher and his wife have been married for nearly 30 years. The couple have two children, a daughter who recently graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a son, a recently-named Eagle Scout who is a junior at Magna Vista High School.
In his spare time, Fincher serves as the chairman for the district’s Boy Scouts of America and enjoys being outdoors.