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Youngsville names Knightdale cop as next police chief

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YOUNGSVILLE — Town officials selected a Knightdale police lieutenant to be the new head of the Youngsville Police Department.

Greg Whitley will be sworn in Dec. 2, the town announced Monday. Whitley was one of two finalists for the position left vacant by former police chief Daren Kirts, who retired over the summer.

"It is an honor to be selected as chief of police," Whitley said in a statement released by the town. "I am committed to providing the highest level of customer service to citizens through professional policing, with a focus on the training and development of officers.

"I believe police and community relationships are best built upon a bank of public trust and I will ensure transparency in the agency's operations and a commitment to building community partnerships."

Whitley has said he began working as an officer with the Smithfield Police Department 19 years ago before moving to the Knightdale Police Department.

He has worked in patrol, investigations and narcotics, he said. He has an associate degree in wildlife management and is working toward a degree in criminal justice from Western Carolina University.

The town said it selected Whitley in part because of his experience and credentials, including an advanced law enforcement certificate, multiple instructor certifications and formal training from the FBI and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"I think Mr. Whitley will bring a valuable array of skills to the department that will strengthen its ability to make Youngsville a safe and exciting place to live," Mayor Fonzie Flowers said in the town's press release.

Capt. Joseph Kimball has served as the department's interim police chief since Kirts' retirement. He was the other finalist who town officials invited last month to give presentations on community policing to citizens at a commissioner's board meeting, as part of the hiring process.

"I want to underscore my appreciation for the stalwart efforts of Interim Chief Kimball, Captain Magsi, and the entire department," Flowers added. "Their leadership and dedication during this time of transition have propelled the department in the right direction and have forged a cohesive team of competent professionals."

The town said it received more than 60 applicants for the position and narrowed the field down through three rounds and eight separate interviews. Nearly 40 assessors - including town employees, managers from neighboring towns, elected officials, retired officers and community watch leaders - were asked to give written feedback on the candidates.

Town Administrator Phil Cordeiro said he appreciated the community's patience as the town made "an extremely important decision" that "needed to managed with the utmost care."

Whitley's swearing in will take place in a private ceremony Dec. 2 before he begins his role. A public swearing in will take place Dec. 12 at the regular meeting of the board of commissioners.

Whitley will take home a salary of $70,000.