Roanoke Police Lose Top Leaders As Department Faces Lawsuits Alleging Discrimination, Retaliation

It's not clear whether the litigation played any role in the recent departures of the department's two deputy chiefs.

Two veteran officers have sued the Roanoke Police Department claiming they faced discrimination and retaliation. PHOTO BY HENRI GENDREAU FOR THE ROANOKE RAMBLER

Two high-ranking Roanoke police officials have retired in the last couple months at a time when the department is facing civil lawsuits from two veteran officers alleging sex discrimination and retaliation.

The city’s two deputy police chiefs — who rank just below Police Chief Sam Roman — retired recently after decades at the department. Deputy Chief Eric Charles’s retirement was announced last week and Deputy Chief Chester Smith’s last month.

While both Charles and Smith are mentioned in the lawsuits, it’s not clear whether the litigation played any role in their departures. Only the city and police department are listed as defendants.