Kitty Hawk police chief retiring

KITTY HAWK, N.C. (WITN) – A long-serving police chief on the Outer Banks is retiring.

After 22 years of service with the Kitty Hawk Police Department, and 30 years in law enforcement, Chief Joel Johnson will be retiring effective Wednesday.

Johnson has served as chief for over 10 years and will be leaving a positive impact. The town said he faced the COVID-19 pandemic, a national change of sentiment towards law enforcement, an increase in drug abuse, and the issues facing mental health.

Kitty Hawk said despite all the hardships he faced, Chief Johnson received numerous commendations recognizing his community-oriented approach.

The town will start the search for a new chief, but until then Lieutenant James Helms has been named interim police chief.