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Chief Foreman to retire |

Chief Foreman to retire |

            Bedford is going to have to find a new chief of police. Todd Foreman is retiring. His retirement is effective Jan. 31.

            Foreman, however, won’t be gone from law enforcement. On Feb. 1, he starts work as the director of law enforcement outreach for the Institute of Scrap Metal Recycling Industries. This is an international non-profit organization the represents companies that recycle scrap metal and lobbies for their interests.

            Foreman’s job will be to develop relationships between scrap metal recyclers and law enforcement agencies. He has been active with a number of law enforcement organizations, so he has a lot of contacts. His status as a retired chief of police gives him credibility with other law enforcement agencies. Foreman will work directly for the Institute’s vice president for advocay.

            Scrap metal recycling companies can become victims of scrap metal theft when thieves steal high value scrap and sell it to them. Foreman gave catalytic converters as an example. Thieves can crawl under cars in a parking lot, cut out the catalytic converters, and then try to sell them for recycling. Foreman said there are no serial numbers on the converters, so it would be hard for a recycler to tell they were stolen. If police investigation into catalytic converter thefts determines that a recycler has some stolen converters, he’s out the money he paid the thief.

            Foreman will also do training and his first task in his new job will be to give a talk before the Georgia Chiefs of Police Association in Athens, Georgia, next month.

            However, he will be based in Bedford.

            “I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

            The job allows him to work from home. He will do most of his work on a computer, from home, and only travel one week a month. He said the travel is good because it will be just enough to keep him from getting on his wife’s nerves. Todd said she’s not used to him being home as he typically spends 60 hours a week at work. This time does not count the phone calls he gets at home.

            Foreman won’t miss the times he has been rousted out of his bed in the middle of the night because of something bad that somebody did. He will, however, miss the times he has been able to make a difference in children’s lives. Making a difference has been a big part of his work as chief of police.

            He is proud of the work he has done finding ways in increase officers’ engagement with the community. He has come up with ways to get them more involved. Bedford police officers volunteer in many capacities and that helps more people get to know them and for the officers to develop positive relationships with folks.

            Foreman started Community Movie Night. A few nights a year, when weather permits, the police show a family friendly movie outdoors, with popcorn. It provides another nice venue for officers to interact with citizens.

            He’s also proud of the Integrity Badge project that he worked on with Leslie Bowyer, a Bedford County art teacher. Bowyer was serving as county-wide high school art teacher in 2020, teaching high school art. They set up a contest for students to design a badge for Bedford police officers. The students studied what the police officers’ duties are and what the department’s core values and mission statement are. Bowyer got 160 badge design entries. Five drawings were selected and the community voted for the winner, with 4,000 votes being cast. Badges were made for the officers from this design and they wear them on special occasions.

            He has been happy to continue Cop Camp. He didn’t start it, but he is pleased that it has grown on his watch. Cop Camp allows older children and young teens to interact with Bedford Police Officers and Bedford County Sheriff’s Deputies in a fun environment.

            Foreman is proud of Shop with a Cop. Under this program money is donated that police officers and sheriff’s deputies use to take children shopping. These are children who’s names have been identified by social services as kids who will have a sparse Christmas. The officers take the kids shopping and the kids pick out their own gifts. It’s another positive relationship building opportunity.

            He is proud that he has been able to hire good police officers.

            “The officers we have here are really good officers,” he said.

            Foreman was proud that, when a peaceful protest was held in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, Bedford police officers were invited to the protest.

            “I was asked to speak there,” he said.

            These invitations speak volumes about the relationship Foreman and his officers have with the comunity.

            Foreman had not intended to retire at this time. His calendar actually has things marked on it up through July. However, an opportunity came that was too good to ignore. Foreman is a member of the International Chiefs of Police Crime Prevention Committee. Another member of the committee, a retired Secret Service agent, is Foreman’s predecessor at the job will take with the Institute. When Foreman found out the man was retiring, he talked to him about the job. Foreman applied and was hired.

            Foreman’s retirement didn’t come as a surprise for Town Manager Bart Warner. Foreman said he told Warner he was applying for the job as soon as he decided to do this. So, Warner was able to see it coming.

            Foreman has been a police officer since 1993. His first job was as a correctional officer at the Dillwyn Correctional Center in Dillwyn. He worked there for three years, serving as a sergeant during his third year. Then, he came to the Bedford Police Department in 1996. He was hired as chief of police on Oct. 7, 2014 and his long service with the department gave him an advantage. He knew the town, he knew the department and the officers knew him.

            He also served 16 years with the Army National Guard, rising to the rank of sergeant.

            Upon retirement, the Code of Virginia allows a retiring police officer to buy his service weapon for $1 and Foreman plans to do that. Bart Warner said Foreman will also be permitted to keep his badge.

            Police Lieutenant Shannon Walker will serve as interim chief while a search is made for Foreman’s replacement.