The changing of the guard was very much present at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, as the next police chief was announced and the new fire chief was introduced to Council members and the general public.
Capt. James B. “Jay” Tilley Jr. was named as the city’s next police chief and successor to Chief Mike Brim, who has served in that position since 2004. Tilley, a self-professed “career law enforcement officer,” came to the Clinton Police Department as captain in 2009.
He has more than 34 years of law enforcement experience and recently attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. Prior to joining the Clinton Police Department three years ago, Tilley served as deputy director of the Wake County City/County Bureau of Investigation (CCBI) from 2007 to 2009. He began his law enforcement career with the Fayetteville Police Department in 1978 and retired as assistant special agent in charge from the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation in 2006.
The next police chief said he was excited about the opportunity to continue his law enforcement career in Clinton.
“I’m a career law enforcement officer; it’s what I enjoy doing,” he said. “To be able to do it in my community is quite an honor.”
Tilley was selected from approximately 50 candidates and was rated the top candidate in three out of four police chief assessment center exercises. City manager John Connet said he knew Tilley was a good candidate for the job, and the evaluation only proved that.
“I knew that Jay was a strong candidate for this position; however I wanted to see how he would stack up against candidates from other parts of the state and nation,” Connet stated. “I am happy to say that after a very thorough assessment process, where we utilized assessors from outside our organization, including three citizens of Clinton, Jay Tilley was the number one candidate. He has lived in our community for the last 22 years, and I know he is committed to moving our police department forward.”
Along with his recent graduation from the FBI Academy, Tilley holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and a master’s degree in Administration of Justice from Webster University in St. Louis, Mo.
He is married to Noreen Tilley, a teacher at Sampson Early College, and is the father of sons Jayme and Andrew.
Tilley is well-versed at working with community issues, having formed the Neighborhood Improvement Team, a small group of investigators working solely on tips from people in the community, at the beginning of 2010. He said he is ready to combat criminal activity and other problems in traditional and non-traditional ways. That includes having officers be a part of the community they are sworn to serve and protect, not simply riding around in them.
“We’re going to change our patrol strategy and go into a direction of community policing,” Tilley said. “We want to be out of the patrol cars and talking with the public.”
Tilley will begin serving as acting police chief on Sept. 7 and will be officially sworn in as chief on Oct. 2. Brim announced that he will be retiring Oct. 1.
Fire chief introduced
New fire chief Adon Snyder was also in attendance at Tuesday night’s Council meeting, and Connet officially introduced him to Council members.
“It’s my pleasure to welcome and introduce our new Clinton fire chief,” the city manager said. “He’s met the firefighters for the first time tonight and we welcome him and we’re excited about him coming and taking the lead in our fire department.”
Snyder will be sworn in at the Council’s September meeting.
A member of Prince George’s County (Maryland) Fire/EMS Department since 1986, Synder ascended from the rank of firefighter to assistant fire chief of Emergency Services Command, Fire and Rescue Operations over the course of the last 26 years at one of the largest combination career/volunteer fire departments in the country.
The city received 60 applications for the fire chief opening at the beginning of this year after former chief Todd Solice stepped down at the end of 2011 in favor of resuming his previous role as deputy fire chief. Robert Swiger has been serving as interim chief. Snyder was named the top candidate in the search and was hired at the end of July.
Snyder attended a fire chief’s conference in Denver last week and said he looks forward to the opportunity to serve as head of the Clinton Fire Department.
“I am very excited about the opportunity the leadership of the City of Clinton has entrusted in me,” Snyder said. “For me, it’s exciting to be a part of a management team that cares about the community and a community that cares about itself.”
Originally from a small town in central Pennsylvania, Snyder has been able to see both sides of the spectrum — that small-town life, as well as the group of transient towns that surround the Baltimore-Washington D.C. Metro Area. Spending the last 26 years around the latter, Snyder said he always knew he wanted to get back to a small town, and had North Carolina on his mind.
“That’s who I am and that’s where I’m from,” said Snyder, who once owned property in Brunswick County. “I’ve been thinking about North Carolina for a long time. After 26 years, it’s time to close that chapter and open a new one.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.