VSP promotion makes gender history

The Virginia State Police is marking a milestone with the promotion of a woman to lieutenant colonel.

That makes Maj. Tracy S. Russillo the department’s highest ranking female. She’s succeeding Lt. Col. Robert G. Kemmler as director of the Bureau of Support Services in Richmond — also a first in the department’s 83-year history. Kemmler is retiring.

Bureau operations include communications, information technology and training divisions, among others.

Russillo is a native of Fredericksburg. She joined the state police in May 1989. Her first patrol assignment was in Spotsylvania County, followed by two years in Culpeper County.

Her promotion to lieutenant colonel is effective Christmas Day.

The promotion was announced by Col. W. Steven Flaherty, commander of the VSP.

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