The Virginia Tech Police Department is regarded as one of the top university police departments in the country, much to the credit of three officers who are retiring this spring with a combined 80 years of service to the university.
Captains Joey Albert and Vince Houston and Lt. Scott Lau are three of the finest law enforcement officers he’s ever had the pleasure of serving with, said police Chief Kevin Foust.
They will be missed, he added.
“It is sad to see these fine executive officers leave us, but it’s been a truly wonderful opportunity to get to know them and to work alongside them over the years,” said Foust. “Virginia Tech is a better, safer place because of them, and their retirements are well deserved.”
Captain Joey Albert
Albert joined the department as an officer in 1985 and spent several years on patrol. He was promoted to sergeant in 2000, lieutenant in 2001, and captain in 2007. He oversees the department’s administrative division, which includes the Community Services unit, Security Center, accreditation, records, and Clery Act compliance.
During his 32 years with the department, Albert said he is particularly proud of how the department has adapted to the growing needs of the university.
In 1985, Virginia Tech had about 18,000 students. Today, the university has more than 33,000 students and 13,000 employees, and the department has grown from 28 police officers to 50. The department also created numerous programs to increase safety, including the Residence Life Resource Officer Program, SAFE Ride, and the student and employee police academies.
The Montgomery County, Virginia, native started his career at Virginia Tech after graduating from high school and said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’ve enjoyed every bit of it,” said Albert.
He will retire March 1 and hopes to travel and enjoy more leisure time.
Captain Vince Houston
Vince Houston joined the department as a watchman (security guard) in 1988. It didn’t take long for him to decide he wanted to become a sworn police officer, and within a year he was selected for an officer position. He was promoted to sergeant in 1999 and to lieutenant in 2001. He moved into his current position as captain of the operations division in 2007.
Houston oversees the day-to-day operations of the patrol unit as well as the threat assessment team and investigations unit.
For nearly all of his 29-year career at Virginia Tech, Houston has been charged with protecting the university’s head football coach. He’s been on the field at every Virginia Tech home and away football game since 1989.
In 2016, Houston and then head football coach Frank Beamer were honored as class ring namesake and sponsor.
The Rural Retreat, Virginia, native said one of the accomplishments he is most proud of is the department’s work to become nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. (CALEA) and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). The department was also certified as a Crime Prevention Campus by the Virginia Criminal Justice Services Board.
Houston will retire March 1 and plans to travel and spend time enjoying the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
Lieutenant Scott Lau
Scott Lau came to Virginia Tech as a police officer in 1998 after 11 years as an officer for the Town of Blacksburg. Lau was promoted to sergeant in 2003 and lieutenant in 2007.
Before retiring Feb. 1, Lau was responsible for one of the department’s four patrol shifts.
From 2009-11, he served as Virginia Tech’s first representative on the Federal Bureau of Investigations Joint Terrorism Task Force at FBI’s Roanoke Resident Agency.
In May 2012, the Blacksburg, Virginia, native graduated first in his class at the 127th Administrative Officers Course at the Southern Police Institute held at the University of Louisville and was honored with the William F. Walsh Director’s Award for Academic Excellence for having the highest academic grade average in the undergraduate program.
That, said Lau, is one of the highlights of his 19-year career at Virginia Tech. He said he was honored to be the first person from the Virginia Tech Police Department to ever attend the nationally recognized 12-week premier executive leadership course.
He’s especially proud of how the department handled some of the more difficult days Virginia Tech has faced and how the department has created a safer community as a result.
Lau is already hard at work on his golf game. He’s also taken on a part-time position with the Roanoke Police Department to oversee its accreditation process.