Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. Announces Plans to Retire in 2021
FAIRFAX, VA / November 5, 2020 – After more than three decades of service to Fairfax County, Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. has announced his retirement, effective February 2021, and his plans to transition Virginia’s largest police department to the next generation of leadership. Roessler said the department, one of the nation’s top law enforcement agencies, will remain committed to its mission, its partnership with the community, respect for the sanctity of all life and to keeping pace with rapid urbanization.
Under Chief Roessler’s tenure the Fairfax County Police Department has continued to embrace community partnerships, cooperatively developing police reforms in a diverse county comprising more than 1.2 million residents within 400 square miles.
“Chief Roessler has dedicated his life to protecting our community for over 30 years, as a new hire, patrol officer, interim chief, and eventually chief for the past 8 years,” said Jeffrey McKay, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. “I want to thank Chief Roessler for his years of service to Fairfax County and his dedication to protecting our county. His efforts, along with officers and our community, have made us the safest jurisdiction of our size in the nation. The Chief has worked with the Board on reforms that have solidified the police department as a leader in transparency and community trust. I know I join many in wishing the Chief continued good health and success in his next chapter. I look forward to beginning the search for his successor and continuing to build on our successes in Fairfax County.”
Roessler thanked his staff and county residents and leadership for contributing to the department’s success.
“The FCPD is blessed with women and men, past and present, who understand their noble calling in life and are dedicated to serving and protecting others,” Roessler said. “I’ve worked alongside progressive law enforcement professionals, amazing forward-thinking strategic county leaders and great community advocates who have truly embraced the concepts of One Fairfax to ensure equity for all. Our county leaders, community and its great police department are positioned to continue to serve as a model for the next generation of policing in America.”
Hired as a police recruit in 1989, Roessler navigated the sworn ranks and many diverse assignments and served as interim Chief of Police in early 2013 until his appointment as Chief of Police in July of 2013. Roessler led the department to national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, while also maintaining state accredited status. The FCPD has been re-accredited by both entities during Chief Roessler’s tenure.
Roessler also led the department through outside review of its use of force policies and community review by the independent Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission. Among the changes embraced as a result of this collaborative process:
- Increased transparency.
- Implementation of a body-worn camera program.
- Establishment of a Civilian Review Panel and Independent Police Auditor’s office.
- Significant modifications to use of force policies, including de-escalation, duty to intervene, prohibition of choke holds, crisis intervention training and diversion programs.
- Enhancing diversity recruitment.
Upon his appointment, Chief Roessler formed the Chief’s Diversity Council and partnered with community leaders to help form the Communities of Trust Committee to increase public trust and transparency. During his tenure he prioritized wellness in the community and among the women and men of the FCPD and has worked tirelessly to advance mental health support and resources in the agency. Chief Roessler also welcomed the addition of an officer-driven, post-traumatic growth K-9 therapy program and he and his wife proudly raised K-9 Indy, who is now in service with the FCPD Peer Team.
Chief Roessler and staff re-organized several investigative bureaus to create the FCPD’s Cyber and Forensics Bureau to meet emerging crime trends and help increase the delivery of justice by solving crimes with new technologies. During Chief Roessler’s tenure, staff have continuously partnered with other agencies to open the FCPD’s ninth district station in the near future which will be a mixed used facility to better serve our urbanizing communities with law enforcement and animal services in partnership with the Fairfax County Animal Shelter and our Animal Protection Police Officers.
Throughout his career, Chief Roessler has maintained national and international professional memberships to enhance the law enforcement profession and has continued to remain a student of his profession beyond his academic achievements.