A new acting police chief has been appointed in Fairfax County. He will hold the position until county officials select a permanent chief.

Lt. Col. Edwin C. Roessler Jr. began his appointment as acting police chief on Saturday after several years of being the department's deputy chief of patrol.

"I'm looking forward to the honor and the privilege to serve all the members of what I call the police family," Roessler said.

Roessler, who lives in Centreville and joined the Fairfax County Police Department in 1989, said he was proud of his time as a patrol officer and would draw from that experience in his new position.

"I have to realize every single day that I come to work that the decisions that I make -- you always have to say, 'How does this impact a patrol officer interacting with the community?' " Roessler said.

Roessler is a graduate of Arizona State University and the George Washington University and completed two FBI professional development programs. Through the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Roessler also helped to design and organize an exchange program that teaches law enforcement officers from other countries about how police departments work in the United States. He said he will continue his involvement in that program until others are ready to take it over.

David M. Rohrer, who had been the county's police chief since 2004, stepped down last fall to oversee public safety in Fairfax County as a deputy county executive. Lt. Col. James Morris became acting police chief after Rohrer's departure, but Morris left that position to become Vienna's police chief.

The Fairfax County police chief position will be advertised nationally, and the Board of Supervisors will select the person who will hold the position permanently.