Chief Timmy: Longo dodges questions about trouble

Tim Longo seems like an old-fashioned kind of guy. He calls women "ma'am" no matter what their age, and he refers to his wife as his "bride." His friends and family still call him "Timmy." And no matter how late his kids are getting to school, he says, he won't cut on the lights and sirens in his squad car to zip past a traffic jam.

Longo always wanted to be a police officer, but he's not sure exactly why.

Maybe it was when he was five or six years old and the cops came week after week to his suburban Baltimore neighborhood trying to catch a dog that was biting people. Maybe it was getting to watch them, to talk to them. Maybe it was seeing what a great time they were having.

Whatever the reason, Longo is one of those guys who loves his job so much, he misses it when he's on vacation.

Before coming to Charlottesville, Longo was a fast-tracker in Baltimore. But no matter how many officers he had under his command, he never had final say in implementing policy. The best thing about being chief? "The buck stops here," says Longo.

After one and a half years at the helm of the Charlottesville police force, there's one perception Longo wants to dispel. "People think this is a pit stop for me because I came from a big city to sit in the chief's role," he says. "That's not why I came here. I made a commitment. And it's great to live three minutes from work, and it's a great place for my family to live."

Age: 39

What's worst about living here? I've come to appreciate the beauty of the mountains, but I'd sure love to be closer to the beach. There's nothing like sitting surfside with your toes in the water.

Favorite hangout? I don't really have any hangouts. My lovely bride frowns on such things. However, I have become quite fond of going to ACAC.

Most overrated virtue? Patience. There's no time to be patient– I have too much work to do!

What would people be surprised to know about you? I love to cook. Actually, I'm pretty darn good at it.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I'd spend more time with my children. I'm one of those persons who have always taken my job very seriously. My bride and children have really suffered for that.

What accomplishment are you proudest of? My four children. I am particularly proud of the way my two oldest have grown and the example they set for my babies. Don't get me wrong: sometimes I have to reel them in a bit.

What do people find most annoying about you? I'm very impatient. It's not that I mean to be. I just expect others to run as fast as I do, and sometimes I get annoyed when they don't.

Whom do you admire? Former NYC Police Chief Bill Bratton for his vision, bold leadership, and tenacity, and former Baltimore Police Commissioner Tom Frazier, who taught me many things about being a police chief. Mostly he unknowingly taught me the meaning of "grace under fire."

Favorite book? Leadership by the Book. Ken Blanchard is one of my favorite authors.

What subject causes you to rant? In government, too much time is wasted talking philosophy. Make the call, and let's roll.

What thrills you about life in the 21st century? Efficiency through improved technology. Computers in police cars, imagine that.

What creeps you out about life in the 21st century? I keep thinking that in another 20-30 years, it'll be like Star Wars. I didn't much like the movie, and I don't think I'd like living out the life.

What do you drive? A Dodge Caravan, a Lincoln Continental, and a marked Charlottesville police car.

What's in your car CD player right now? The Greatest Hits of Earth, Wind and Fire, Volume 1

 What's your next journey? The International Chief's Conference in Minneapolis

What's the most trouble you've ever gotten in? On the advice of counsel, I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it may incriminate me. Nice try.

What do you regret? Not spending more time with my two oldest children when they were younger. Tim is 15, and Alexandra will be 13. Between the police department and law school, I was consumed with my future. In retrospect, I didn't have the maturity to realize what I was missing.

Favorite comfort food? Fried calamari

What's always in your refrigerator? Diet Coke

Must-see TV? Touched By an Angel. You've gotta love that Roma Downey.

Favorite cartoon? Peanuts

 Describe a perfect day: Sunny, about 80, my feet in the surf, staring out into the Atlantic.

Walter Mitty fantasy? Sitting on the Supreme Court and getting a chance to tell you what I think the Constitution says. Sometimes I'd even settle for General District Court.

Who'd play you in the movie? Someone who looks like Al Pacino , which kind of brings out that Sicilian thing, but who acts like Michael J. Fox, whom I happen to be taller than.

Most embarrassing moment? I'll let you know after this is published.

Best advice you ever got? Never take your eye off the ball.

Favorite bumper sticker? If you can't run with the big dogs, don't come off the porch.



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