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Retiring Bedford police chief Foreman reflects on career | Smith Mountain Lake Local News

Retiring Bedford police chief Foreman reflects on career | Smith Mountain Lake Local News

Reflecting on his time with the Bedford Police Department, Todd Foreman said working to develop relationships with the community has been one of the most rewarding aspects of his job, particularly cultivating positive relationships with children and youth.

“All the different things where we’re involving the kids in the community, building relationships with them, they’re the most important things that we can do. If we’re building relationships with the kids, that’s really important,” said Foreman, who is leaving the department Feb. 1 to work in the private sector after a law enforcement career that includes more than 25 years with BPD.

Foreman was not planning on leaving the police department, he said, but becoming director of law enforcement outreach at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries still would allow him to be involved in community service and work with local law enforcement.

“It turned out to be a good fit for me,” Foreman said in an interview this week.

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A native of Altoona, Pennsylvania, Foreman attended Liberty University for his undergraduate education and began his career with the Bedford Police Department as a patrol officer in 1996 following three years of employment at a correctional facility.

From patrol officer, Foreman climbed through the ranks, moving up to the role of community policing officer, a patrol sergeant, operations lieutenant, and finally chief of police in 2014.

Last year, the police department partnered with local schools in a badge design project. Students created badge designs for local law enforcement officers to wear for various events or awareness days, Foreman said — just one example of how the police department is working with students to educate them and form relationships.

With additional initiatives like Cop Camp for children and youth, or Shop With a Cop, basketball tournaments, movie nights, and other volunteer activities officers and community residents take part in together, Foreman has long had an emphasis on “community policing.”

Another accomplishment Foreman is proud of was obtaining national agency accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies in November 2020.

CALEA accredits police departments in the United States and some other countries by upholding high professional standards. The distinction makes accredited law enforcement agencies stand out as being an example in the field, Foreman explained, and often reflects well on officers who move on to other departments from an accredited agency.

“That was a goal of mine, is for us to be nationally accredited,” Foreman said. “We’re the smallest department in Virginia that’s CALEA-accredited, so that was a big deal for us in the department.”

BPD currently has 23 sworn officers, plus four civilian staff, with one officer position opening.

Foreman intends to remain active in the Bedford community.

“I plan on being involved because I care about this community. I care about the officers that work here. I care about the sheriff’s department. All of Bedford County, I care about every single one in our community, so I want to stay involved,” he said. “The position that I’ve taken gives me that opportunity.”

Foreman said a perk of his new job is its work-from-home opportunity, which also will give him more time to spend with his family.

The Town of Bedford finance director and assistant town manager, Sonia Jammes, also left her position on town staff, accepting a new city manager job in Jasper, Georgia.

Bart Warner, the town manager, said the Town of Bedford is actively recruiting for both the finance director and police chief positions.

Within the first week of posting the finance director position, Warner said a dozen applications were received, with more that had not yet been processed from the second week of recruitment. The response is “promising,” he said.

In the meantime, Bedford Police Lieutenant Shannon Walker will serve as interim chief, and the assistant town manager and finance director duties will be distributed among the rest of the town staff.

With budget season approaching, Warner said all town staff are trained in crafting a budget. While the document may not look as “pretty” as the ones Jammes created, he joked, the town will still have a budget that is “very financially sound.”

Despite the staffing turnover, Warner said town citizens should not observe any change in services.

Interested applicants for the open positions can find more information on the town website’s human resources page, Warner said.

“The two people that we’re losing were exceptional. We’ll certainly miss them, and I say this all the time: We’re not replacing Sonia and Todd, because that’s just not possible, but we’ll get people who are good for the community, and we are sure the community will support them,” Warner said.