John Venuti Named VCU Police Chief

Richmond Police Maj. John Venuti has been named chief of the Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department, one of the largest university police departments in the country with 82 sworn officers, more than 200 security personnel and an accredited training academy.  

Venuti’s appointment, effective Feb. 1, comes after a national search that resulted in more than 170 applicants. The final three candidates visited VCU in December and participated in forums with students, faculty and staff.

“VCU’s Police Department effectively serves a large, diverse and open environment,” said John Bennett, VCU’s senior vice president for finance and administration who oversees VCU Police. “Chief Venuti’s experience will allow him to build the department’s effectiveness in serving and protecting the students, faculty and staff at our university.”

Venuti comes to the VCU Police Department with more than 25 years experience in law enforcement. He joined the Richmond Police Department in 1984 as a patrol officer and rose through the ranks to major.  His current assignment is command of Support Services.  In that role, he supervises more than 175 sworn and civilian employees and manages a $15 million budget. In the RPD, Support Service includes the major crimes unit, cold case unit, forensics unit, arson unit, fugitive unit and the force investigation and sexual assault teams.

“We were very fortunate to receive applications from a number of highly accomplished law enforcement professionals who found Virginia Commonwealth University to be a very attractive place to work,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “Major Venuti’s record of achievement in Richmond and his commitment to VCU made him an excellent  fit.”

Venuti has led the Metropolitan Area Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force, working with the region’s five jurisdictions, Virginia State Police and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. He is also executive director and creator of Stop The Pain 804, a grass roots, community policing initiative that includes a collaborative, urban anti-violence music video for inner city youth, focused on the impact of violence on the entire community.

Venuti is scheduled to receive a bachelor’s degree in management and leadership from Bluefield College in 2010. He has completed the FBI National Academy, as well as more than two dozen law enforcement and management training programs sponsored by federal and state agencies.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see

VCU Police Chief John Venuti
VCU Police Chief John Venuti