Bedford’s police chief reflects on service ahead of retirement

Chief Todd Foreman joined the department in 1996, appointed top cop in 2014

Bedford's top cop is retiring after a quarter of a century with the town's police department.

BEDFORD, Va. – Bedford’s top cop is retiring after a quarter of a century with the town’s police department.

“[The area’s] changed over the 25 years I’ve been here. There have been a lot of changes,” said Chief Todd Foreman, while driving around downtown Bedford.

Foreman’s retirement takes effect on Feb. 1.

“It’s kind of bittersweet leaving the department, but I’m going to be stepping into something new, so I’ll have more time with my family,” said Foreman.

He joined the department in 1996 after serving in the U.S. Army National Guard and Virginia’s Department of Corrections.

Rising through the ranks, Foreman was appointed chief in 2014, achieving a childhood dream to serve others.

“I think [what I’ll miss most are] the interactions with the people and the community, and then the people I work with. I mean, we’ve got a great staff,” said the police chief.

Foreman says he inherited the staff that was down seven officers.

He’s built the department back up to 23 officers, while also earning both state and national accreditations.

Foreman says one local story that stands out during his time is the arson of the old Bedford Middle School in 2020. He remembers getting the call at 2 a.m.

“Getting up and walking out of my house, and I could see the glow from the flames and getting out there; then us working through [the case] so we could figure out who caused the fire and what caused it,” said Foreman.

He says his biggest struggle was leading the department through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That’s probably been the biggest challenge. I’m not out as much for the past two years, and it feels different to me than my first six years as chief.”

Foreman has also made a push to connect with the community, particularly the youth by hosting Shop with a Cop around the holidays, Cop Camp in the summer, and 3-on-3 basketball tournaments.

“We still need to treat everybody with kindness. These kids see these things, and we want to build that relationship with them so they know that they don’t need to fear us, and we’re not there to harm them or harm their families,” said Foreman.

Bedford residents we spoke with say the relationship is mutual.

“[Chief Foreman has] been a blessing to the community, and we hope the best for him,” said resident Mark Zimmerman.

“I think everything’s been a whole lot better with him, I really do,” said resident Dwayne Tuck.

Foreman is moving forward, working as Director of Law Enforcement Outreach for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. He says his goal is to build relationships between scrap recyclers and law enforcement to prevent crime.

The department is now searching for its next chief.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.