Roanoke County’s first female assistant police chief and one of the few female police commanders in Virginia will retire after nearly 30 years in law enforcement. Donna Furrow began her career with Roanoke County as an emergency dispatcher. She became a sworn police officer in 1988 and moved up the ranks to sergeant and lieutenant before being named assistant chief of the Roanoke County Police Department in 2003. In her role as assistant chief, she has overseen the operations division, which includes patrol and criminal investigations.
Chief Furrow’s success has been attributed to many things, but perhaps her two strongest attributes are her ability to collaborate with others and to think like a street cop even in her role as assistant chief. One of her most-noted accomplishments has been building an effective relationship between the Police Department and Roanoke County School System.
Superintendent Dr. Lorraine Lange says Furrow has been invaluable to Roanoke County Schools. “In an emergency she was with us instantly. But more importantly, Donna built a lasting relationship with all of our staff members. We felt like we could call her at any time and she would help us with whatever problem we had. There is no doubt, Donna will be missed.”
Assistant County Administrator Dan O’Donnell says Furrow’s open communication style, genuine care for people, and professionalism won her much respect and admiration across the county’s many departments as well as the community. “Assistant Chief Furrow has been absolutely professional in every aspect of the performance of her duties and has set an excellent example for all of our law enforcement officers. She has a unique ability to maintain a calm demeanor in the very stressful situations that face our police professionals on a daily basis. She has done a fantastic job for the citizens of Roanoke County and deserves a long, healthy and happy retirement.”
Furrow’s last day was November 30. She will be recognized by the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors for her many years of service when the Board meets next on Tuesday, December 14 at 3:00 p.m. in the Roanoke County Administration Center. After retiring, Furrow plans to spend more time with her family and will be substitute teaching in Roanoke County.