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Shane Guyant, who currently serves as a lieutenant with the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, has been named the new chief of the Roanoke Rapids Police Department.

City Manager Kelly Traynham announced the hiring of Guyant during Tuesday night’s city council meeting. Guyant will begin his duties on July 3.

In a statement handed out before the meeting began, Traynham said, “We are very excited to have Dr. Guyant serve as our next chief of police. He was selected after an extensive search and thorough interview process.”

Traynham said in the statement, “It is no small challenge to have made it through the competitive process to be the candidate selected. I look forward to working with Chief Guyant and to what he will bring to the Roanoke Rapids Police Department, the city and the public we serve.”

The decision to hire Guyant as chief comes after the termination of former Chief Bobby Martin in April as well as the termination of the city’s second top-ranking law enforcement officer — former Captain Jamie Hardy. 

The firings of the city’s top-ranking law enforcement officers came after an independent investigation into alleged policy violations was conducted by the consulting firm of Richardson & Davis Investigative Consulting Group.

The announcement of Guyant’s hiring as chief also comes as the city has been experiencing its highest vacancy rate in the last 12 months, Human Resources Director Christina Caudle told the city council last month.

In making the announcement during her report to the council, Traynham said, “We look forward to the skills he is going to bring and the vision for the department as well.”

Traynham acknowledged the service of interim Chief Gorton Williams during the time that Martin and Hardy were placed on administrative leave and their terminations. “There’s been a lot of adversity and he has braved a smile and has had the courage and worked really well with us and I know our new incoming chief is looking forward to working with interim Chief Williams. Really we have a chance right now to rebuild the department on a solid foundation. Police work is not easy … but we’re all in this together … interim Chief Williams thank you for your service and dedication. We’re going to continue to make good things happen and I know that you’re going to continue to excel in your role as well as captain of administration.”

Williams said he was grateful for the opportunity to have served as interim chief.

“I’m beyond excited,” Guyant said this morning. “I have over 30 years of law enforcement experience. There is very little that I have not been involved in. I have been a chief before in a state agency but the opportunity to come in and lead these men and women that work with the Roanoke Rapids Police Department is one that I relish more than I’ve ever done.”

Guyant said he looks forward to working with the community “to build an exceptional level of trust. I also look forward to an outstanding relationship with the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff (Tyree) Davis.”

On Williams, Guyant said, “I am very proud of the difficult job that Gorton Williams has done over the past few months. I am very much committed to continuing the many successful things he has accomplished.”

Guyant is aware of the challenges ahead of him. “We’re going to get it done as a team and we will be the best police department in North Carolina in the future. I do recognize the challenge and I am ready to tackle it with my team head-on.”

Guyant began his law enforcement career in 1993 and has been employed with the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division and the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office where he currently serves as a professional standards lieutenant as well as acting as the public information officer. 

At the HCSO he oversees the hiring, internal affairs, grants and training.

Throughout his career he has served as a detention officer, patrol deputy, criminal investigator, sergeant, lieutenant, assistant director, and director.

“Chief Guyant has led and participated in hundreds of complex investigations involving various criminal violations in several state and federal jurisdictions both in and out of the state of North Carolina,” Traynham said in the statement. “These investigations consisted of … homicides, armed robberies and other violent crimes, fraud offenses, RICO, money laundering, embezzlement, human trafficking and cyber crimes.”

Over the last 15 years he has been responsible for several budgets and personnel management as a command and executive level law enforcement officer.

Guyant earned a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Wesleyan College, a masters in public administration from Central Michigan University and a doctorate in criminal justice from Northcentral University.

He is a graduate of several leadership academies including the West Point Leadership Program through Methodist University and the North Carolina Leadership Institute from the North Carolina Justice Academy.

He has obtained the trilogy award by completing the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association program.

He is an adjunct criminal justice professor with Purdue University Global and teaches several basic law enforcement training programs in the area.