New Bern Police prepare for changing of guard with current chief’s retirement, new chief’s appointment

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NEW BERN, N.C. — After a decade of service to New Bern, current Police Chief Toussaint Summers, Jr., is ready for retirement. However, he said he’ll always remember the experience of serving in New Bern.

Summers will retire on March 19. On March 3, The City of New Bern announced Deputy Chief Patrick Gallagher had accepted the position of Chief of Police for the New Bern Police Department. His first day in the office will be Monday, March 22.

Deputy Chief Gallagher’s law enforcement career spans more than 30 years and started when he joined the United States Army Military Police Corp in 1983. In 1990, he joined the Virginia Beach Police Department and advanced through the ranks from patrol officer to deputy chief.  Along the way, he gained valuable experience working in Uniformed Patrol, Special Operations, Investigations, Accreditation, and Internal Affairs.  For the past 21 years, Deputy Chief Gallagher has worked in a supervisory role as captain and then as deputy chief of the department.

Deputy Chief Gallagher holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Public Administration, both from Old Dominion University.  He is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy, Police Executive Leadership Institute, and Senior Management Institute for Police. 

“Many qualified and talented candidates applied for this position. After careful consideration, several candidates were evaluated further by professional panels consisting of community members, business leaders, and law enforcement experts from the surrounding area,” said Mark Stephens, City Manager.

“Deputy Chief Gallagher rose to the top with a broad base of law enforcement experience, community involvement, diversity and inclusion, and crisis response. Given his breadth of knowledge and professional experience in policing, we are fortunate to have him as our next chief of police here in New Bern.” 

Chief Summers told WNCT his departure is bittersweet, but he is pleased with the amount of work he’s been able to get done. Summers was able to change the design on the department’s badge and build trust between the public and officers.

“I’m excited to go on with the next chapter of my life, but I’m also very excited and pleased with where we’ve come since I’ve been here,” said Summers.

In his cover letter to the City of New Bern, Deputy Chief Gallagher wrote “I pride myself on being accessible to the community I serve” and expressed his commitment to representing all people, including under-represented and challenged populations.  He added that strong community relationships help guide law enforcement and government in support of human and civil rights.

“I am looking forward to coming to New Bern again, but this time to stay as Chief of Police,” said Gallagher.  “I’m honored to serve the city and build upon the positive progress made between the community and the police department.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead a nationally accredited department full of talented professionals who are committed to public service, safety, and excellence.”

Gallagher is a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia. He was chosen from a pool of 74 applicants. A special swearing-in ceremony and community meet-and-greet will be announced later, as permitted by state regulations pertaining to COVID-19.

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