“I don’t have plans to go anywhere else. I think there is a lot of opportunity here. I like the town. I like the people,” Chief Rebecca Edwards said. “The police department mission will stay the same. I want the transition to be seamless. There shouldn’t be any bumps. I want to keep the same high level of services that we have had.”
“When Chief Forker was appointed chief, he let it be known there would be a limit to his tenure here,” said Dumfries Town Manager Dan Taber. Forker had already retired once from the Prince William County police Department and wanted to return to retirement.
Taber made the recommendation to the Dumfries Town Council to promote Edwards. She was approved unanimously.
“Over the past year and a half that she has been the captain of the Dumfries Police Department, she has performed in an outstanding manner. She has gained the confidence and respect of the community and the town council,” Taber said.
“There is no reason to believe she won’t continue to move the Dumfries Police Department forward in as professional a manner as possible.”
Edwards has about 25 years of law enforcement experience.
Before taking the Dumfries position, she worked for eight years at the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office. When she left in 2011 following the election of a new sheriff, she was a major and a division commander.
“I knew being third in command, I was not going to survive a transition,” she said.
She also had worked her way up from deputy to a division commander of the town of Fishers Police Department in Indiana.
“I’ve been blessed. I have had a lot of really good opportunities and really good mentors but I’ve also worked hard,” she said.
Before applying for the Dumfries position, Edwards said she didn’t know much about the town or the controversy that plagued its police department in 2010.
Within six months of that year, the longtime police chief retired, a senior officer was fired, another senior officer resigned one day after being placed on suspension, and another officer resigned when he learned the findings of an internal investigation into the town force.
“I did know there had been quite a bit of transition and I knew in general they were rebuilding,” Edwards said.
She said she looks forward, not back.
Edwards applied for the Dumfries job, met with Forker and did her research.
“After talking to him, I could see a lot of positive changes,” Edwards said. “They were trying to do the right thing and be consistent.”
She took the job and liked what she saw in the department. Officers spent a great deal of time interacting with residents and participating in town events. The department had good equipment and the officers reflected the diversity in the town.
“They were moving forward,” she said. “I came to appreciate the officers who were here and the people in the town.
“I think we are in very good shape but I look forward to the opportunities and challenges still out there,” she said.
She wants to explore new programs and activities to continue community interaction.
Edwards also would like to see her officers acquire specialty skills and be more involved in casework aside from taking initial reports.
She wants to see the department fully staffed with 11 sworn officers.
“I want to ensure we maintain and improve,” Edwards said.
“We all are working together. We have different positions. We have different roles,” she said. “This is not Becca’s police department. The accomplishments that we will have will be as a team.”