Purcellville Police Department Cpl. Rick Costello began his law enforcement career when many other police officers were thinking about ending theirs. After 15 years combined with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and the PPD, it’s Costello’s turn to enjoy retirement, leaving behind an indelible impression in two carrier fields — as well as the citizens he served in his adopted home town.
On April 21, Costello was honored by town government and law enforcement officials with a ceremony ahead of his May 1 retirement from the PPD. After becoming a police officer at age 55, Costello said he was simply thankful to have a chance for a second career dedicated to service.
“This town has always held a special place in my heart,” said Costello, a West Virginia native. “The town of Purcellville has something special. For me to have the honor and privilege of serving the citizens of this town is tremendous to me.”
An Eagle Scout and later a Navy veteran serving in the Vietnam War, Costello worked for more than 30 years in the building supply industry. In 1999 he felt compelled to fill a long-term conviction to give back to his fellow citizens and began volunteering with a community advisory committee, assisting police officers and finding ways to give back any way he could.
After several years of 40 or more hours a week to service, county law enforcement officers encouraged him to join a department full time. Having no luck with several Northern Virginia departments, the LCSO offered him a position on the force.
Speaking at the ceremony, Costello admitted it was difficult overcoming the bruises and tears inherent with the rigorous six-month academy surrounded by recruits half his age.
After graduation from the academy, Costello spent three years with LCSO and nearly 12 more with PPD.
In the process he became renowned for his IT ability, helping optimize the PPD’s communication systems, and also managing the department’s accreditation process. Other law enforcement officers said Costello was the go-to source for anything else they needed, from paper work to office maintenance.
“He amazed me from day one,” said PPD Chief Cynthia McAlister, who joined the department in 2015. “All that he can do in a day, all that he does get done. He worked so hard every single day he was there, but he was also always there for someone when they needed to talk to.”
McAlister’s sentiments were echoed by several other friends and colleagues during an emotional farewell ceremony mixed with laughs and tears. Residents of Purcellville said Costello would be best remembered for his compassion and devotion to his town.
“You were the epitome of what it means to be a police officer,” Town Council Member Kelli Grim said. “You gave us all a great sense of what this town is about.”