A black and white photo of VCU Police Chief Dan Dean and three police officers standing in front of a police car in 1994.
Former VCU Police Chief Dan Dean, second from left, welcomed new patrol officers to the force after their graduation from the police academy in 1994. (VCU Police file photo)

In memoriam: Dan Dean, former chief of the VCU Police Department

An officer for more than 32 years, and chief of police for 11, Dean was well-respected by colleagues. “It was just an honor to work for him.”

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Dan Dean, who served the Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department from 1967 to 2000, has died. Dean passed away following his struggles with liver failure, according to his family. He was 75.

VCU Police Chief John Venuti said Dean built the department’s foundation for community policing and launched the guiding principle that university police are here so community members can live, learn and work safely. 

“Organizations are able to transform and grow when built on strong foundations and Chief Dean was visionary and innovative,” Venuti said. “He expanded the VCU Police jurisdiction, launched the first campus bicycle patrols in Virginia and increased safety education and crime prevention efforts.”

Dean served as chief of VCU Police for 11 years and was well-respected by his colleagues. Marvin Wingo, a retired VCU Police officer who works as a security specialist for VCU Health, remembers the day Dean called from a chiefs’ convention in Virginia Beach to say he’d be starting a bike patrol program.

Before calling, Dean had already signed up Wingo for bike training and thought bike officers would be a great addition to the department.

Wingo said Dean was supportive of officers’ careers, was always fair, and took pride in what the department accomplished. 

“He definitely showed us dedication. He was a family oriented man. … He cared about your family and asked you how everything was going,” Wingo said. “Even after he retired, he came back for my retirement and was very supportive and very proud of what we did. It was just an honor to work for him.”

A visitation will be held Tuesday, Jan. 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. at Monaghan Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 7300 Creighton Parkway, in Mechanicsville, Virginia. The funeral will be Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 10 a.m. at Church of the Redeemer, 8275 Meadowbridge Road, in Mechanicsville.