Passing of the Torch: The Legacy left by a Chief

Chief Dennis Russell

Chief Dennis Russell

By Dennis N. Russell, Wintergreen Police
Dennis Russell was named Wintergreen's new Chief of Police in December, replacing retiring Chief Stan Olah. He came to the position as Sergeant at Wintergreen Police. He has been with Wintergreen Police for nine years. Before that, he worked for 25 years in the Polk County, Fla., Sheriff's office.

Chief Stan Olah retired in December after 28 years with Wintergreen Police.

Chief Stan Olah retired in December after 28 years with Wintergreen Police.

Over the span of a forty-two-year law enforcement career, Stan Olah dedicated and devoted his life to public service. Starting out as a Virginia State Trooper, he moved on to become a Wintergreen Police Officer and served twenty-eight-years as Wintergreen’s Chief of Police. During this time, Chief Olah moved the agency forward with many firsts.

Olah plaque and building compo.jpg

A plaque dedicating the mountain gatehouse to Chief Stan Olah was installed by the Wintergreen Property Owners Association in December.

We were the first private law enforcement agency to train all their officers the same as a public agency would require of their certified Police Officers. We were the first and still the only private law enforcement agency to be State Accredited.

And to his credit, he successfully pushed the legislature to recognize the Wintergreen Police Department as a recognized police organization as defined by statute removing the title Special Conservator of the Peace, finally achieving the recognition as a true law enforcement agency.

As I take the reins of a truly dedicated and professional organization, I am excited to create and maintain the legacy of a highly successful agency. I look forward to the new year and to serving our community as Wintergreen’s new Chief of Police and will continue an open line of communication with the community.  I also look forward to sharing the new and exciting initiatives the agency will undertake.  

Wintergreen Police approaches 2018 with one of the most unknowing times in the agency’s history. Without getting into the politics of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, we will be thrust into a situation we have never experienced. Please know that we are working tirelessly to try and maintain the peace while still allowing individuals to exercise their First Amendment Rights in a safe environment.

Nevertheless, as a recognized state certified law enforcement agency we must ensure that the laws of the Commonwealth are recognized and enforced. In the wake of the recent civil unrest in Charlottesville we will endeavor to plan, analyze gathered intelligence, work closely with other law enforcement agencies, maintain open lines of communication within our community and continue to do all we can to provide a safe and secure environment for our homeowners to enjoy themselves on Wintergreen Mountain and Stoney Creek.