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Fort Walton Beach City Manager Michael Beedie announced Friday the selection of Edward J. Ryan from Norfolk, Va. as the city’s next chief of police.

Ryan fills a vacancy created by the retirement of Ted Litschauer, who served as the city’s police chief for 10 years. He is slated to be formally sworn into the position in July.

Ryan has amassed more than 31 years of law enforcement and community policing experience, officials said in a news release. Ryan has served as the Norfolk Police Department’s assistant police chief since December 2010. He holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice from Saint Leo University, where he graduated summa cum laude.

“This was probably the toughest decision I’ve had to make as City Manager, but the search process set up by our Human Resources director was extensive and thorough,” said Beedie. “My selection of Chief Ryan is based on his wealth of experience in every aspect of law enforcement and in handling the issues the city is currently facing. He is a well-rounded candidate who has the ability to lead the Fort Walton Beach Police Department in becoming the best law enforcement agency in the area,”

The selection of Ryan was the result of a national search that yielded 44 candidates from the across the nation, city officials said. The three-month hiring process included application screenings and panel interviews with city staff, interviews with a panel of community leaders and current police chiefs from within the region, an open forum and meet-and-greet with the police department and city council, one-on-one interviews with the city manager, and site visits to the top two finalists’ current departments.

“The search process was impressively executed,” said councilwoman Amy Jamieson. “From city staff, to council members and local leaders, to most importantly, our police officers, all had the opportunity to provide input on the final candidates. I feel that our city has gone above and beyond to assure that we’ve found what is best for the police department and our community.”

Ryan is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and has completed several law enforcement leadership schools, including the FBI National Academy, Southern Police Institute Command Officers Development Course, and the University of Richmond’s Professional Executive Leadership School. He has also focused on crisis intervention training, which assists in dealing with citizens with mental illness. Other experience includes leadership over patrol divisions, administration, and communications.

As police chief, Ryan will be responsible for managing all services, operations, and policies of the Fort Walton Beach Police Department. The chief oversees a staff consisting of 43 sworn officers, 5 reserve officers, and 22 non-sworn support personnel.

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