Last day: Mike Farruggio turns in his cuffs

If a guy has been a cop for 25 years in Charlottesville, yeah, there are going to be some stories.

"We had some prior information that UVA students were going to be streaking," reveals Captain Gary Pleasants. "I told everyone not to go to UVA. The next day I see on the cover of the Cavalier Daily Mike Farruggio and another officer, standing there with a naked guy in the picture."

It's Farruggio's last day with the Charlottesville Police Department, and Pleasants relates the story while eating a piece of raspberry drip cake as colleagues file in to say farewell.

Sergeant Bobby Haney, who succeeds Farruggio in staff development and accreditation, recalls SWAT training. "We hadn't rappelled in a couple of years," he says, standing in Farruggio's old/Haney's new office. "Mike says he'll go first. He gets out on a 40-foot fire tower, sits back in his gear, flips back, and he's hanging upside down."

Brooklyn-born Farruggio remembers the culture shock moving down to Charlottesville after working two years for NYPD, including a stint in New York's notorious 77th precinct, where a colleague left the windows open in his squad car, and returned to find the car on fire.

On the mean streets of Charlottesville, Farruggio started as a beat cop on August 29, 1988, and worked night shift for six years. He spent six years in narcotics. He made detective. He met the woman who's now been his wife of 16 years, Jan, who's still a dispatcher. And he served on the Planning Commission.

The biggest change over the 27 years he served in law enforcement? "Better equipment and better training," says Farruggio. "And we've moved more toward community policing."

"You were part of a lot of new initiatives here," observes Captain Wendy Lewis.

Farruggio is ready for a new stint of community service as his run for City Council kicks into high gear once he's officially out of the Charlottesville Police Department. He's running as a Republican in overwhelmingly Dem Charlottesville, where the last Republican to get elected was Rob Schilling in 2002. Attorney Buddy Weber, who's sharing the ticket with Farruggio, stops by the police department for a piece of cake.

He says the two GOPers have already knocked on hundreds of doors. "He's got a great eye for detail," says Weber "He sees things that could be done better or done another way."

Farruggio wheels a shopping cart out of the police department to his CPD-issued car to turn in 25 years worth of equipment, including nearly a dozen uniforms.

In the elevator going back upstairs, Sergeant Brian O'Donnell puts dibs on Farruggio's incoming uniform shirts. "You can leave your money laying around here," he says, "but don't leave your gear."

Farruggio turns in his handcuffs, his baton, his belt. But state statute allows him to keep his service weapon.

That raises the question, if Farruggio is elected to City Council, will he attend armed?

"Mike will keep the piece and I'll make sure justice is done," says Weber, although maybe he meant "peace."

Sergeant Haney is eager to take over Farruggio's car— it's the second time he's inherited a Farruggio cast-off, he says. "Yay, air conditioning."

The soon-to-be retired officer says he's had some time to psychologically adjust to not working as a cop when he was out on sick leave for six weeks for knee surgery earlier, so it's not going to be cold turkey.

After Labor Day, the election season begins in earnest, and Mike Farruggio is ready to begin a new career, he hopes as a city councilor. Plan B? He's pretty good with a hammer and nails.


Is this a news article or a campaign ad? Admire the guy's years of service in the city, but sheesh, could y'all write any more of a puff piece?

Yeah... because the Hook is so notoriously right wing it must be a campaign ad. Me, happy to get a bit more info on a potential City councilor.

the idea of having some intellectual diversity on the Council is really appealing....and these guys are both savvy enough not to get baited the way 'Show-boat' Schilling kept being baited by Kevin Lynch et al. Among other things, I hope they'd ask more questions about the plethora of 'studies' we commission at ridiculous costs.

Hope he gets elected so I can find out how the city manager gets paid an extra $17,000 just to do his job. I have grown weary of all the City Council's shell games with taxpayer money and hope a change will mean a better accounting of taxes.

I was going to vote single shot for Fenwick, but now I'm so glad there's an alternative to Szakos I think I'll vote for Farrugio too. I had no idea he was running.

I hope that article on council voting a $17,000 bonus for the city manager to do his job is coming soon. Why does that guy get so much from city council for doing so little? We moved him to town, loaned him money with no interest, pay for him to get the education he was supposed to have to get the job in the first place, and now we pay him extra just for doing his job?

There's not a thing wrong with a fluffy article about the retirement of a well-known, 25-year veteran of the CPD. I don't care if he's running for City Council or not.

Mike: You were already like the unelected Mayor of Charlottesville for those last 25 years.

Mike Farruggio, while a respected member of the CPD was not the only CPD Sergeant that retired that same day with 25 years of service. The other sergeant received no party or accolades nor was he even invited to Farruggio's send off party even though he was one of the most decorated officers at the CPD . Was his service any less important to the City of Charlottesville and it's residents? Typical CPD.

Tammy, who was the other sergeant that retired? Farron? If so, I am pretty upset to hear this. It should have been a joint sendoff and party, dangit!!!!

I'm sure I sound like a sock puppet, but this dem is leaning strongly toward voting for him. I like some ideological diversity among my representatives and he seems like a reasonable human being.

Nice article about a nice guy-

A good man that is good for our community.

Mike is a good guy, I like him a lot personally, and am grateful for his lengthy public service. It's important to note, however, that his personal politics are actually extremely far to the right (not just for Cville, but as compared to the rest of the country). While it's a good thing to have diversity of opinion on Council, we have to be wary of polarization too. Everyone saw what a train wreck Schilling was on Council.

I think that a moderate like Fenwick is what's needed. He's a no BS kind of guy, but here's the important part: Fenwick cares deeply about the people and neighborhoods of Charlottesville. He has demonstrated over the years that he is very supportive of business, but is not completely subservient to the Chamber of Commerce like Farruggio would be if elected. Fenwick thinks that individual people count too.

Farruggio's record on the PC showed that he was, in most circumstances, more likely to take the path of least resistance and vote with developers. He often ignored red flags about projects in favor of the developers making money. By contrast, Fenwick isn't scared to look deeply into complicated issues and talk about things that big business wants kept quiet.

Shaking my head and walking away. I know far too much.

@Cville Native -- please share. some of it. It's important readers know, as I suspect, that things are not always so black and white.