Dumfries police Chief Rebecca Edwards

Newly appointed Town of Dumfries Police Chief Rebecca Edwards in Dumfries, Va. on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. 

Rebecca Edwards is no longer the Dumfries police chief.

“I didn’t resign. I wasn’t fired,” she said this week. “I am not going to accept the new job responsibilities.”

During the Aug. 3 Dumfries Town Council meeting, it voted 4-to-3 to make changes to the Dumfries Police Department to establish 24-hour police coverage during this fiscal year.

Among the changes were: reduce Edwards’ salary by more than 25 percent – from $95,817 to $70,000 – and change her duties to include making patrolling a major part of her job, and eliminate two positions within the department.

Mayor Jerry Foreman, who is also acting town manager since Dan Taber resigned July 5, sent Edwards a letter five days later – Aug. 8 – telling her she needed to sign off on the letter that included the changes to her job and her pay reduction by Aug. 22. Otherwise, she would be paid out her annual leave and compensatory leave upon termination, Edwards said.

Foreman did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

“In response to your letter of Aug. 8 to me regarding the workforce reduction in the police department and the reduction in the scope and responsibilities of my position, I am hereby advising you that I do not intend to remain in the position of chief of police under the new job description and salary. I assume my last day of employment will be Aug. 22,” Edwards wrote back to Foreman.

Her last day was Monday, as was police Capt. Jose Vazquez and police records clerk Bettina Cannon. Their names and photos were removed from the town website by Tuesday morning.

Edwards said she waited to give Foreman her response until after his court date for petty larceny involving his alleged stealing of a campaign sign belonging to then Vice Mayor Willie Toney, five days before the May 3 town election.

A resident saw Foreman take the sign and wanted action taken, town officials said at the time. Edwards was the charging Dumfries police officer.

Foreman pleaded no contest to trespassing, a lesser charge, on Aug. 18. In a no contest plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but does not dispute the charge. (See the story on page 5.)

 In the letter Edwards gave to Foreman a day after his court proceeding, she also wrote, “I have concluded that I would not be able to successfully serve the town in the restructured position of chief of police. I take this action regretfully but am convinced that the changes being imposed on my job duties and the department itself pose too many obstacles to effective service and management of the police department.”

In her conclusion, she wrote, “I feel my contributions as a member of the Dumfries Police Department have made a positive impact on the Dumfries community.”

She was recognized in May by her peers for her efforts to turn around the once problematic department.

“We encourage you and your officers to stay the course because you are making a difference,” A.J. Panebianco, chairman of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police Professional Image and Ethics Committee, wrote to Edwards. “In our view you have reestablished Dumfries as a professional and ethical police department and we thank you because it reflects well on all of us.”

Panebianco noted that Edwards “inherited a police department that was plagued with issues ranging from misconduct to poor performance to everything in between. The town was fortunate in their selection of you as you have built upon the hard work of the transitional chiefs and then plowed ahead to create a professional and ethical agency.”

The shake-up and then the revamping of the Dumfries Police Department began in 2010.

Taber said this week he was “very disappointed” to learn Edwards had left the department. He noted that the department had made many positive changes since 2010 such as higher hiring standards and increased training.

“As a result, the department has earned a reputation as a profession police agency concerned about the community they serve. A lot of the credit for that goes to Chief Edwards and the outstanding staff she developed,” said Taber, a retired Prince William police officer who held the Dumfries police chief job before he became the town’s manager. “She remains a true police professional and an outstanding police manager.”

Edwards was named police chief in July 2013. She has previously served as second in command of the department for 18 months.

Edwards has about 28 years of law enforcement experience.

Before Edwards and the captain left the department, it would have been fully staffed at 11 when its recruit finishes the police academy. Sgt. Mike Fink has been named action police chief. There is one other sergeant, a school resource officer, five officers and one recruit.

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(10) comments

Mevo

Being a town resident most of my life, the rumor mill is alive with what our mayor is doing to our town. I honestly think the guy is losing it. Employees are dropping like flies, the town police department is in shambles because of Mr. Foreman's wrath of wanting to get even with the former chief for arresting him. You just can't make this stuff up. Jerry Foreman is what is wrong with American politics today. He thinks he is the dictator of Dumfries and everyone must bow to him. I can't believe some of the things I hear that he is doing and that it goes on right under everyone's nose. The problem is that he is elected and can only be removed by a recall campaign or more deserving - a Virginia State Police investigation. Dumfries, is this the type of leadership we want? And then his angry Vice Mayor sidekick has the personality of a troll and is right there feeding Jerry's ego.

Folks, I am embarrassed and a shamed of it what is becoming of our town. I am tired of seeing news articles about the poor leadership of our counsel in the failure to communicate with the citizens when the mayor refuses to comment about actions that he and/or the council have taken.

Jerry, you can have all the meetings you want. You can attempt to build morale by having cheerleading sessions with the police department and other departments, But the fact is no one trusts you. You are not fit to lead. You are a disgrace to our town. Please resign and at least show your fellow citizens that you have a conscience and realize and accept your shortcomings.

Kiso

What a waste of a good Chief, good Town Manager, and good Town Attorney. Dumfries - you let this happen by electing this maniac.

Another poster mentioned that this aspiring congressman got creamed in the election and now can only show on his resume as a small town mayor. He is even failing miserably at this job. No idea how this guy even made it in the Marine Corps.

So let me talk to you directly Mr. Foreman (I REFUSE to refer to you as MAYOR Foreman, because I know how that swells your ego) - you are a sad example of a leader. You try to lead by fear an intimidation and you operate as if you are still in the military - well, you are not. You are a small town politician that can't even lead the other three to make decisions to lead Dumfries in the right direction. Good luck hiring a town manager or chief that will put up with your personality.

Now, I hear that we have some unqualified "kid" with a bad attitude filling in as police chief, and like you, the job has already gone to his head and people are leaving. How long before all of the officers leave because of your failed leadership? How long before public works employees leave because of your mad-man rants and disrespectful behavior toward them?

When will the other 3 council members stand up to this self-centered fool and quit letting him talk down to you like he does at the meetings?

What we need is an old-fashioned recall election! RECALL FOREMAN! RECALL BREWER!

PWCresident2016

Oh, Jerry, Jerry, Jerry... what have you done now? Got caught red-handed by the police chief and now all of a sudden she is forced out of her job. We will stand by and wait for you to come up with some sorry excuse about how she wasn't performing well or some other made-up story, but the truth is that you and your cronies, Brewer, Brewer's sister (nepotism??), and Brian Fields (this one I cannot figure out because he is "different" from you), want to run your own little "power" show in Dumfries.

So you run for Congress and you don't get elected (actually have your a&& handed to you in that election) so now you must exercise and feed your incredibly huge ego on a small town that is deserving of so much better.

I would like to suggest that you resign your position in order to save our town from your poor management practices and narcissistic leadership style, but we all know that you think you are leading the town in the right direction and that you are exactly what the town needs.

Shame on you and shame on the other three council members that are drinking the Jerry Foreman Kool-Aid.

Whatever company insures the Town of Dumfries, prepare to open your checkbooks.....

H8DMV

I don't want to sound clueless but can someone answer this question how he got charged with trespassing and is still able to hold a part in the making choices for the community?? And In not being sarcastic I truest don't understand how this works

George Hawkins

Trespassing is only a misdemeanor crime so I doubt it has any effect on his holding office. A felony offense would be something different. I can't believe Dumfries is going backwards so fast after all the progress that was made in recent years. Not sure what your issue is with the county but there is no comparing the 2 Dumfries has a long history of cesspool government. Incompetent criminals running the place, sorry to see it returning to that kind of leadership. There was such promise with leaders like Taber and others.

Unbelievable

[sneaky] So let me get this straight.... The now mayor who is convicted of a crime....and was charged by the police chief has now gotten rid of the Town Manager, Town Attorney, and Police Chief since he has taken office? Hmmm... I see Dumfries going back to the trash town that it was 7 years ago.

H8DMV

I agree.. She did a lot for the town of Dumfries and now it's going to go back down the toilet again.. That is the issue with all PWC they are always getting rid of the people who do and the hire crap..

Wayne D.

What's this have to do with PWC? Oh yeah, nothing. Hey residents of Dumfries. How long will you tolerate incompetent leaders? Get rid of this mayor and get the chief back.

H8DMV

It's has to do with PWC because they do the same thing

Wayne D.

Sorry but you've always been clueless.

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