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Retired police chief hired to review Purcellville chief investigation takes job in Charlottesville

Thierry Dupuis
The retired police chief who was contracted by the Town of Purcellville to review a heavily scrutinized investigation into Purcellville Police Chief Cynthia McAlister has been hired as Charlottesville's interim police chief, a move that raises questions about the independent audit of the town-funded investigation.

Thierry Dupuis, who retired as the Chesterfield County Police Department chief last September, began his term as Charlottesville interim police chief on Tuesday. He followed Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas, who retired in the wake of a scathing independent review of the deadly Unite the Right rally Aug. 12.

Purcellville Mayor Kwasi Fraser said Dupuis notified Interim Town Manager John Anzivino last week that he would be leaving his role in the Purcellville investigation. Anzivino then informed Fraser earlier this week. The mayor said Dupuis had not finished assisting with the review of the McAlister investigation.

In an interview with the Times-Mirror Thursday, Anzivino mostly declined to answer questions about the ongoing investigations clouding the town, which in addition to the McAlister audit include a review of actions by the former interim town manager, investigating a sexual harassment allegation against the town attorney and additional human resource-related complaints.

The Wilson Elser law firm is leading the probes.

Anzivino said the investigations are “moving along," and he's spent a "fair amount" of time dealing with the inquiries. He serves as the point person for information about the investigations for both council and Wilson Elser.

Dupuis, who was hired by Purcellville through a Town Council vote in December, was contracted at a rate of $125 per hour to help conduct an audit of an investigation by private human resources investigator Georgia Nuckolls.

Nuckolls' investigation, which led to the firing of Chief of Police Cynthia McAlister, was called into question after town officials disclosed Nov. 19 that Nuckolls was convicted of felonies relating to fraud and forgery in North Carolina in the 1990s.

McAlister was re-instated after the Nuckolls revelation, but the chief was placed on paid leave pending an independent audit of the original investigation, which Dupuis was hired to conduct.

Nuckolls' investigation, the specific findings of which have not been released, claimed to substantiate accounts that McAlister acted outside the scope of her duties and ran afoul of town policies and procedures, among other violations.

Nuckolls was hired by Alex Vanegas, Purcellville's interim town manager who is also on paid leave. Vanegas was hired by Town Council in May after long-time Town Manager Rob Lohr retired. Councilman Doug McCollum said at the time the majority of council members had decided to "separate [Lohr] from his position."

Dupuis is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Executive Board of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and Foundation, the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation and the Board of Trustees for the Fork Union Military Academy, according to Charlottesville officials.

In addition to Vanegas and McAlister, Town Attorney Sally Hankins and Human Resources Manager Sharon Rauch have been placed on paid leave as the investigations play out.

This story was updated Jan. 6 to include comments from Mayor Kwasi Fraser.


Dillgaf I am also spit balling and assuming but my assumption is he was quick to realize he was not paid to lead an investigation but instead hired to write whatever Ryan cool and jimmerson tell him too while the mayor talks about monetizing assets and ogelman is using the term responsibile government.  70/30 shot

I hear that the Town Council has already put out an RFP for the follow-up investigation one expected botched investigation by the retired CopChief.

Just spit balling here, but maybe JUST maybe this means he has concluded his review and there isn’t any it really doesn’t “raise” any questions about the independent audit.

I know that’s a crazy concept to grasp. That a third party could come in and look at what had been done already and come to a conclusion and provided that conclusion to the town then MOVED ON.

It’s strange the the LTM keeps looking for some nefarious undertone where there is likely non. I wonder what story the LTM will print if the original investigation is upheld .. ?? Just sayin.

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