New police chief starts Monday
In the midst of an expansion to better accommodate officers and staff, the Jersey Village Police Department will welcome a new leader when longtime law enforcement officer Charles E. Foerster takes over as chief on Monday, Nov. 1.
Foerster, who was selected by City Manager Mike Castro from a pool of 55 applicants after a six-month search, will succeed outgoing Chief Charles Wedemeyer Jr., who announced his retirement earlier this year.
Wedemeyer, who has served 14 years as the city's top cop, said he will stay on through January to assist Foerster in the transition.
Foerster, who earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and a master's degree in public administration from Bellevue University in Nebraska, comes to Jersey Village from Vidor, where he had served as the city's police chief since October 2008.
Before that, he was the chief of police in Colorado City, Texas. He began his career in 1993 as an officer with the Marshall Creek Police Department before moving to the San Angelo Police Department.
Foerster, who has 18 years of law enforcement experience, will make $95,000 a year as police chief in Jersey Village.
Castro said the new chief brings a "managerial mind set" in many areas of law enforcement including patrol, internal affairs, narcotics, community services, recruiting, criminal investigations, traffic, crime prevention, training and administration and emergency management.
In Jersey Village, Foerster will lead a department of three detectives, four sergeants, 20 officers and two civilians staffers, Wedemeyer said.
The city's population is 6,880.
The 2010-11 fiscal year budget for the police department is $2,478,902.
This compares with Vidor, which has a population of 12,000, 27 police officers and a $2.7 million annual police department budget.
The outgoing chief said his replacement will not only be working with a new group of officers but also in a newly expanded building.
The $633,000 construction project, which is aimed at adding 2,205 square feet to the 11,158-square-foot police department, will not only better accommodate the existing officers and staff, but will also allow for a larger police force if needed and will be better suited to training.
According to city officials, the police department expansion is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
"We're in the final phase of construction, and it's going very well," Wedemeyer said, adding he believed the work would be completed before he leaves at the end of January.
"This is the first expansion since the building was built in 1995, and I think it will last at least another five to eight years (before another expansion is needed,)" he said.
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