KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Making Kinston a safer place and promoting transparency between the police department and the city’s residents is the goal of the recently released 2022 annual report.

While the report reviews 2022, it also gives insights into the department’s hopes for 2023.

“The police department is on the rise, there’s some good things happening here in Kinston and it’s only going to get better this year. We’re really excited about 2023,” said Kinston Police Chief Keith Goyette.

Goyette said the department plans to continue its five-year strategic plan and further the department’s accreditation process.

“Whether it’s our fleet, whether it’s uniforms, whether it’s personnel, whether it’s training, like any business, you have to plan ahead, so we want to make sure we’re doing that,” Goyette said. “So this annual review helps us out because what we can do is at the end of the year, we put this annual review together, we can look at our strategic plan and we can make sure we’re staying on course.”

Goyette said the department also wants to further efforts to connect with the community.

“We’re very very active on our social media. We want to, one, we want to humanize our officers, but two, we want to make sure our citizens know what’s going on with their police department, what’s going on with their city,” said Goyette.

He said there are also future community initiatives in the works, like a gang awareness symposium and a citizen’s police academy.

“We want to get out, we want to meet our community members, so they can put a face with who the chief is, who the majors are, and we just want to make sure we are able to humanize who we are, so we can establish a good relationship with our citizens. So, you’re going to see us a lot more in the community,” Goyette said.

Kinston Mayor Don Hardy said the report helps the city identify types of crime.

“It shows, you know, a reduction of crime, different crimes, it shows, you know, what we have been doing. It also shows anything from dog complaints to assaults to murders to robberies,” said Hardy.

The report details investigation information like the number of cases assigned, arrests made, and solvability rates. For example, the 2022 report said the Criminal Investigations Unit had an overall homicide solvability rate of 100% for that year.

“We’ve been doing everything we can to provide the safest community we can, you know? Trying to provide services to our citizens and stopping vehicles and trying to arrest those who are committing crimes in Kinston,” Goyette said.

When it comes to recruitment, he said, the force is looking for future officers.

“We’re heavily recruiting, and we’re doing everything we can to retain the officers we do have here, and I’m confident by the summer, we’ll be fully staffed,” Goyette said.

To read the Kinston Police Department 2022 Annual Report, click here.