Deputy Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema (ZOO-dih-muh) has been named Interim Chief, effective September 1st. He will fill the top position until a permanent chief is selected. Current Chief Raul Diaz steps down at the end of the month.

News release: Lynchburg City Manager Bonnie Svrcek announced today, Tuesday, August 14,  that she has appointed Lynchburg Deputy Chief Ryan Zuidema to the position of Interim Police Chief effective September 1, 2018.  In June, current Police Chief Raul Diaz announced he would be retiring from law enforcement to take a position with the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations in an overseas leadership role later this year.

Zuidema has been with the Lynchburg Police Department since January 1997.  In September 2016, he was promoted to the position of Major.  After the department underwent several changes, his position title became Deputy Chief.  As one of two deputy chiefs in the department, he oversees both the Investigations and Administrative Bureaus. Zuidema holds an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Brockport, a Master of Business Administration from Averett University, a Certificate in Local Government Management from Virginia Tech, and is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program.

In making her announcement, Svrcek said that Zuidema’s long history with the department, demonstrated leadership skills and broad experience led to her choice to appoint him as Interim Police Chief.  “This was a difficult decision because we have two very well-qualified deputy chiefs,” said Svrcek. “I have great confidence that the department will continue to do the work of building community and protecting and serving the citizens of Lynchburg during this interim period.”

“I appreciate this opportunity to serve as Interim Chief,” said Zuidema.  “I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow officers, the community and City administration during this interim period.”

A nationwide search is ongoing to fill the Police Chief’s position.