Roger Chesley

Roger Chesley

Longtime columnist and editorial writer Roger Chesley worked at the (Newport News) Daily Press and The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot from 1997 through 2018. He previously worked at newspapers in Cherry Hill, N.J., and Detroit. Reach him at [email protected]


Can training solve over-aggressive policing?

By: - April 29, 2021

Police officers in Windsor’s small, now-maligned department will receive training next month on best practices and de-escalation techniques during encounters with citizens, the executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police told me this week.  Dana Schrad said her organization helped set up the two-day training session, following the release of video into […]


‘Unnecessary opportunities for strife and use of force’: It’s time to re-evaluate police traffic stops

By: - April 14, 2021

The traffic stop by two Windsor police officers of an Army officer should never have become a viral video. The fact that it did, and that a federal lawsuit has been filed, means better training of officers is mandatory in law-enforcement departments across Virginia. Perhaps more importantly, the mindset of “compliance above all else” — […]


It was past time for the Virginia Board of Elections to crack down on lax candidates

By: - April 8, 2021

To hear some candidates tell it, a decision last week by the State Board of Elections is heavy-handed and reeks of political chicanery. The board’s move prevents a few Democratic Party challengers from getting on the primary ballot in contests for the House of Delegates this year.  The three-member board, these candidates claim, won’t provide […]


Fairness demands that Virginia’s neighbor earns statehood, despite Republican opposition

By: - April 1, 2021

Growing up in the nation’s capital, I always felt congresspeople considered themselves overseers of local residents. They weren’t benevolent ones, either. The plantation reference is harsh, I know. Yet it’s accurate, since predominantly Black officials from the District of Columbia were forced to go, hat in hand, for approval of local policies and budgets from […]


Virginia sets an example on voting rights

By: - March 24, 2021

Virginia is setting the pace for what a state should do to ensure a person’s race, color, or language aren’t barriers to exercise the ability to vote. It’s among the most cherished rights of citizenship in America.  Legislators in the General Assembly passed a bill — awaiting Gov. Ralph Northam’s expected signature — that, along […]


We can, and must, do more to protect women from deadly domestic violence

By: - March 18, 2021

If ever there were a case in which a known abuser of women had clearly telegraphed the intent to kill someone he’d dated, then Mark O’Leary would be Exhibit A. The 40-year-old felon now faces first-degree murder, felony firearm and other charges in the slaying of his estranged partner, Sammi Jo Burkhart, in Chesapeake in […]


Officials should have been more forthcoming on investigation into woman’s death after vaccination

By: - March 12, 2021

Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver assured me this week that the death of Drene Keyes of Gloucester, just a few hours after she got a COVID-19 vaccination, was properly investigated by the state — even if there wasn’t a full autopsy. “When a medical examiner takes on a case, it’s not an autopsy versus […]


Get your vaccine when you can

By: - March 3, 2021

I understand the wariness so many people harbor toward the new vaccines to fight the coronavirus. Some segments of the population, especially Black Americans, can point to a litany of egregious medical incidents over the decades, including sinister neglect, mistreatment and lack of consent for specific medical procedures. There could be questions about the speed […]


No more ‘no way’ on all police investigative records

By: - February 24, 2021

We don’t have to. So we ain’t gonna. That’s been the response by law-enforcement agencies in Virginia to requests for records and details from the public, virtually all of the time. The state’s feckless Freedom of Information Act provides an easy escape hatch for many government agencies, including police.  Unless FOIA requires police departments to […]


Trying to keep people away from the ballot box isn’t a winning strategy

By: - February 17, 2021

Consider the following: A profligate prevaricator, the de facto capo of the Republican Party, spouted lie after lie in both the run-up to and after the 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump was abetted by craven acolytes who knew better, and conspiracy theorists — in public office both in Virginia and elsewhere — for whom facts […]


Full vaccination of staff should be a prerequisite for going back to schools

By: - February 11, 2021

Nearly everyone wants schoolchildren back in classrooms around the commonwealth as soon as possible, since they’ve coped with roughly a year of the pandemic and less-than-perfect teaching substitutes. Note my use of the word, “nearly.” More on that later. Gov. Ralph Northam wants a return to in-person studies, though he has only the bully pulpit […]


Save the checks for those who need them most

By: - February 3, 2021

President Joe Biden wants to supercharge the sputtering economy, vaccinate millions of Americans against COVID-19, and help people by issuing another round of stimulus checks. He and members of Congress are grappling with the best way to do that, and Republicans have offered less-expensive alternatives to the president’s $1.9 trillion plan.  I have a suggestion […]