Hertford Police Chief Dennis Brown resigns, citing ‘acrimonious political environment’

North Carolina

HERTFORD, N.C. (WAVY) — Hertford Police Chief Dennis Brown announced this week that he will resign, citing an “acrimonious political environment.”

Brown, who has served as the town’s chief since 2018, said he believes his department “is being used by some as a tool for discord.”

“This is not our primary function and is placing staff in the middle of political disagreements,” Brown said in his resignation letter. “My loyalty has always been with the citizens, and I have sought strategies which positively impact the town. I have employed judicious and equal enforcement of the law and never showed favoritism to one person or group. Conversely, it was made public last year of an exploration of a council member into the disbanding the police department. While the public and most of the council greatly supports the department, I do not believe this goal has been abandoned and could be serving as a motivation for some decisions.”

Brown didn’t go into detail, but told the Daily Advance that his department has been placed in the middle of disputes between council members. The Daily Advance had just recently reported that the State Bureau of Investigation was investigating an extortion case involving two city council members.

In his letter, Brown said the decision “was not reached in haste” and said he was proud of his time with the department. He praised his staff, which has grown multiple times during his tenure, up to eight full-time officers from the two when he started.

“During my tenure, the police department has reconnected with our community through a customer service-based community policing model. This approach has healed old wounds and brought about a positive relationship between our officers and residents. The police department has embraced the 21st Century Model of Policing and made its mandates key fundamental elements of our service plan. The evidence room, which has been a historic point of concern, has been inventoried and property is being managed in a legal and professional manner.”

Brown says he’s taken a new, more stable job not with the town, but he will stay with Hertford through the end of March.

“Serving Hertford has been an exceptional honor and I wish the department and community nothing but success,” Brown said.

Here’s the full copy of Brown’s resignation letter:

Madam Mayor,

Since starting with the Town of Hertford Police Department in 2018, I have truly enjoyed serving our exceptional residents and businesses. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with such a fantastic community.

During my tenure, the police department has reconnected with our community through a customer service-based community policing model. This approach has healed old wounds and brought about a positive relationship between our officers and residents. The police department has embraced the 21st Century Model of Policing and made its mandates key fundamental elements of our service plan. The evidence room, which has been a historic point of concern, has been inventoried and property is being managed in a legal and professional manner.

When I was hired by the town, the police department had only two full time officers and one administrative assistant. Today, the department has eight full time officers, five part-time officers, one administrative assistant, and a recommendation to the manager to hire a ninth officer. We have reorganized the department to meet the growing law enforcement needs of our community, to provide supervision and accountability to staff, and to add a clear career path for our officers to increase longevity.We have incorporated nationally accredited policies for high liability areas and the department’s Use of Force Policy is certified as best practice by the United States Department of Justice regarding Standards for Certification on Safe Policing for Communities. We have incorporated a standardized hiring policy which has increased diversity in our department and adheres to best practice. We have embraced technology to include body and vehicle cameras as well as equipment in our cruisers which allow staff to be independent and work remotely. We are the only law enforcement department in Perquimans County to utilize vehicle and body cameras. Our agency has updated responses to calls and increased case closure which has helped victims find justice. Overall, I leave a department which is staffed with exceptional members who care greatly for the Hertford community and only want the department to find more success.

The current acrimonious political environment is impacting me, my family, and the department. The police department is being used by some as a tool for discord. This is not our primary function and is placing staff in the middle of political disagreements. My loyalty has always been with the citizens, and I have sought strategies which positively impact the town. I have employed judicious and equal enforcement of the law and never showed favoritism to one person or group. Conversely, it was made public last year of an exploration of a council member into the disbanding the police department. While the public and most of the council greatly supports the department, I do not believe this goal has been abandoned and could be serving as a motivation for some decisions.

Therefore, I have accepted a more stable position which will provide increased financial support for my family and professional growth. This decision was not reached in haste, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve this new community. As required in my employment agreement, I am providing a 45-day notice in which the town can establish a transition plan. My last day with the Town of Hertford will be March 31, 2021. Serving Hertford has been an exceptional honor and I wish the department and community nothing but success.Respectfully,Dennis Brown.

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