Donald Edwards, a stalwart within the Clinton Police Department for more than two decades, has been named the agency’s new police chief.
On Friday, Interim Clinton City Manager Robert Hyatt announced the promotion of Edwards from captain/assistant chief to police chief. He will be replacing former Police Chief Jay Tilley, who retired in April. The search had been ongoing since Tilley announced at the beginning of the year that he would be leaving.
“I’m still waiting for it to sink in,” said Edwards. “I’m honored and humbled.”
Edwards has been serving as acting chief since Tilley’s departure, as the city has been going through the recruitment process to find its next leader for the department.
The search was narrowed to four candidates in March leading up to an assessment center, a comprehensive evaluation process that measured candidates’ managerial traits, organizational leadership, public relations abilities and administrative qualities through various exercises and interviews. At the time, then-City Manager Shawn Purvis noted the strength of the four semi-finalists who “all have strong backgrounds and have been involved in police administration for a number of years.” One of those candidates was Edwards.
However, the process hit a snag as city officials continued to work with consulting firm Developmental Associates LLC on helping find the next chief. On Friday, the city announced it had found its new police leader.
In a city statement released Friday announcing the selection, Edwards was called an “integral part of the City of Clinton Police Department for the past 24 years.”
“It’s a big honor for me, having served here for so many years as I have,” the new police chief said Friday. “I’m humbled that they’ve entrusted me with such a huge responsibility.”
Edwards began as a police officer in 1993, and progressed his way through the ranks, reaching the level of captain in 2012. In addition to his years of experience, Edwards received a Bachelor of Science degree from Mount Olive College and has successfully completed numerous law enforcement-related certification and education courses, including the North Carolina Administrative Officers Management Program, city officials said.
Edwards said, for the short term, he is seeking to fill two key positions within the department, including a detective sergeant and the assistant chief post now vacated by Edwards himself.
“We’ve got some great programs already in place and we want to continue those strong relationships and partnerships in the community in order to build on the high quality of service we’ve been providing,” Edwards said.
He will be officially sworn in as police chief at the City Council’s Aug. 1 meeting.
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