City of Vancouver officials announce Police Chief James McElvain’s forthcoming retirement

Retirement of Vancouver Police Department chief will be effective June 30

VANCOUVER – Police Chief James McElvain will be retiring from his position with the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) effective June 30, 2022. McElvain, who will be departing after more than eight years with VPD, was sworn in as Vancouver’s chief in December 2013.

Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain
Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain

“Chief McElvain has been a strategic and thoughtful leader for the VPD. During the last two years, he has been a steady, compassionate leader through some of the most tumultuous times for policing in a generation. His commitment to working with the community to increase transparency, accountability, and equity while improving police and community relations and reducing police use of force incidents has been exemplary,” said City Manager Eric Holmes.

VPD’s notable accomplishments under Chief McElvain’s leadership include:

  • Implementing reform recommendations made by the Police Executive Research Forum to reshape VPD’s culture, policies and practices around use of force
  • Overseeing development of VPD’s body worn and vehicle camera pilot program
  • Establishing an in-house Records Division after over 20 years of outsourcing to Clark County
  • Deploying Police Service Technicians in the field to enhance community service to address response to lower-level crime
  • Growing the department as part of the Community Resource Team process 
  • Improving the working relationships between the Office of the Chief and the Vancouver Police Officers Guild and Command Guild

“I entered law enforcement — in part — to be a change agent, and I feel I’ve accomplished that. As I begin my 36th year in policing, with more than eight years as chief in Vancouver, I find this to be an appropriate time to move aside for new leadership,” Chief McElvain said. 

“I’ll be leaving with a hopeful and positive vision for the department. It has truly been an honor and pleasure serving the Vancouver community alongside the men and women of the Vancouver Police Department who work with dedication and passion to keep the City safe and flourishing.” 

Prior to joining VPD, Chief McElvain served in the sheriff’s department of Riverside County, Calif. for more than 17 years and had a total of 28 years law enforcement experience in southern California.

The city plans to launch a national recruitment for Vancouver’s next police chief and will work closely with Chief McElvain to ensure a smooth transition. 

Information provided by city of Vancouver.

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