Kinston getting 4th police chief since January 2020

Kinston getting 4th police chief since January 2020

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) – There’s more turnover at the top of the Kinston Police Department with tomorrow being the interim chief’s last day on the job.

Interim Police Chief Jenee Spencer will retire tomorrow with 30 years of service.

The city will now have had four police chiefs since January of 2020 when Alonzo Jaynes left.

Chief Spencer was named interim chief when Tim Dilday retired back on June 30, 2021.

Spencer said she is now looking forward to spending more time with family and becoming a more devoted wife, mother, daughter and Gigi to her grandchildren. After enjoying some time off, she plans to “get back into the career field part time or on a contract basis”. She added that she has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s in public administration and would like to utilize those even more in her future endeavors.

City Manager Rhonda Barwick said she has appointed Major Keith Goyette as the next interim chief. “We are grateful for her many years of service and appreciate her willingness to serve as interim chief over the past year,” Barwick said. “We have a strong team in the police department and I have confidence that Major Goyette will provide the leadership we need during his interim assignment.”

Barwick was named as the permanent city manager in July.

Major Goyette (left), Interim Chief Spencer (right)

Major Goyette (left), Interim Chief Spencer (right)

We asked Mayor Don Hardy about the impact of such high turnover in the police department.

“When you take a look at what time they have left, and it’s always been someone who’s had very little time left, and they decided to move on and retire. So you take a look at that and look at the folks that we’ve had, which are great folks, and I look forward to that progress moving forward,” he said. He added that the department’s focus will remain on community-oriented policing to help solve crime.

When asked about Major Goyette, he said, ”Very, very good police officer to begin with. Let me start by saying that. Great guy. Motivated, innovative. I think he’s gonna be a real real champion for Kinston for sure.”

The city will begin a nationwide search for a new police chief in October.

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