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Roanoke Rapids Police Chief Shane Guyant introduced recently promoted officers, new hires and two officers who received their advanced law enforcement certifications to the city council Tuesday.

“I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by these wonderful men and women,” he said. “These public servants are the greatest individuals I’ve ever had to work with. I think the world of them and I’m learning to love them and cannot say enough good about them. We’re very fortunate in Roanoke Rapids to have these individuals that are committed to service, honesty, innovation, excellence, leadership, dedication — that’s our core values.”

Guyant said he is pleased that the department has been able to hire new staff and make much needed promotions. “Most of our promotions have been a very competitive process. There was much to do about having them go through certain assessment panels. Captain (Gorton) Williams and myself have really worked hard to make sure we have made a professional process out of this and make sure when we selected the people to serve with us on our leadership team that we selected the people that had our intentions for the city and had our intentions for the betterment of the people that live here and work here at heart.”

Command staff

“I cannot say enough about these two gentlemen,” the chief said, referring to captains Jeff Baggett and Harold Phillips. “They’ve got the biggest will and want to work for the people and want to do the right thing. I’m so very fortunate to have these two men by my side and beside Captain Williams.”

Baggett is the captain of the patrol division and has been with the police department his entire career. “I first met Jeff many years ago during instructor training … He is a wonderful addition to our team.”

On Phillips, Guyant said, “Harold is an incredible human being. I’ve worked many cases with him. He is an excellent investigator. He’s excellent dealing with staff. He is leading our investigations unit — both our Criminal Investigations Unit and our Narcotics Unit. I’m just so glad to have both these gentlemen on our command staff.”

Promotion to lieutenant

Morgan Worrell was interim captain earlier this year. Guyant described her as a “phenomenal human being. I love her to death. I’m glad she’s on our team. She’s very intelligent. She brings such a breadth and depth in our criminal investigations and our narcotic units.”

Worrell has worked on the patron division and in CID and narcotics. “We’re so glad to have her. She went through a promotional process and came out as our lieutenant of our investigative unit. She’s working hand in hand with Captain Phillips and we’re just so glad to have her.”

While Matt Hunsucker couldn’t be at the meeting, Guyant said, “Matt was formerly in CID and got promoted to a lieutenant over a shift. He is doing an excellent job. His staff truly enjoys working with him.”

Promotion to sergeant

In introducing sergeants Clarice Hagbourne and Sammy Langley, Guyant noted that Langley “took it upon himself to comfort a small child just like any good father would do with other children” following a stabbing call Saturday morning. “That is a very comforting thing to know that you’ve got staff that are willing to take it upon themselves to make sure a child is not stressed out, that a child feels a little bit of comfort. That means the world to me knowing that he’s got that kind of heart. It’s just awesome to have him on our team.”

Hagbourne, Guyant said, is very community-oriented. “She loves the community. I don’t hear anything but positive things about Sergeant Hagbourne.”

Guyant said Hagbourne is very well respected in the ranks. “She’s really leading a good squad as a sergeant. This officer is community driven and that’s what we need — people to care about our community and love our community.”

Promotions to master officer

On Nicole Powell and Kathleen Williams, the chief said, “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know these ladies.”

Both did very well on their promotional process, he said. “They are our training officers. They are the people that train our new officers.”

Damien Norfleet, who couldn’t be at the meeting, “is a very good young man. He’s really got a bright future ahead of him and I really can’t wait to see what happens with him in the future.”

Investigator hires

Brian Biggerstaff comes from the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office. “I’ve worked with Brian closely for the past five years. He’s a great investigator. Brian is trained on doing the unit for crimes against children. He’s the one doing the child predators and things like that.”

Tyler Acree is working in the narcotics unit. “Tyler actually made a big arrest on his second day working here. We had a subject that we had been looking for who cut off an ankle bracelet because he was out on a homicide charge. Tyler actually saw the gentleman, ran him down, caught him and arrested him.”

Said Guyant of the new investigators: “These are two great additions to our team.”

Officers Jay Conrad and Isaac Nielsen

Conrad has been with the police department two years and was put into the PACE position. “Our PACE division is primarily for helping Captain Williams doing community engagement stuff and making sure we are proactive with our crime control. You’re going to see that face a lot in the community.”

Nielsen, who came to the department from Utah, was released into the field early. “He is an exquisite officer and he is also a veteran of the U.S. Marines.”

Guyant has Nielsen working on a project with the American Legion to help the department identify people in the city who might be suffering from PTSD. “I’m looking forward to seeing the project.”

Advance enforcement certificates

Williams and Investigator Nick Bankert were awarded the advanced law enforcement certificate. “This certification comes from thousands of hours of education and training and experience.”

Both officers obtained the certification on August 11 from the North Carolina Criminal Justice Training and Standards Division. “The culmination of obtaining these certificates means they’ve really, really, really devoted themselves to their craft in law enforcement.”

After presenting them their framed certificate and ribbons, Guyant said, “We’re really proud of these two officers for this accomplishment. This is not something that just comes easily. This is something that requires work, years and dedication.”