New police chief named

The Town of Kernersville introduced the Kernersville Police Department (KPD) Chief Jason Tilley, a former KPD patrol and SOD (Special Operations Division) commander, at a short ceremony on Monday at 2:30 p.m. at the Kernersville Police Station.
Tilley, a former captain at the KPD, is taking over the position from former KPD Chief Tim Summers, who served as chief from Jan. 31, 2017 until Monday afternoon. Summers replaced former KPD Chief Scott Cunningham. Cunningham was named KPD chief in June 2008.
Kernersville Town Manager Curtis Swisher explained the extensive process of how the Town made its decision on who would be the new police chief, and then introduced Tilley as the new KPD chief in front of dozens of KPD officers, as well as Mayor Dawn Morgan, Kernersville Aldermen John Barrow and Joe Pinnix, and Kernersville Town Attorney Edward L. Powell.
Tilley first thanked “Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior because none of this would be possible without him.” Tilley thanked the community for its tremendous support and stated the work of the KPD would not be possible without community support. Lastly, Tilley thanked his fellow officers and the civilian employees of the KPD.
“This profession is one where you can’t be successful on your own. You have to have a lot of support, and I want to thank all of you for your support over the years,” said Tilley.
Tilley has been with the KPD for 19 years and was promoted to captain in 2017. He feels very honored to be named chief and acknowledged the KPD chiefs before him.
“I am really excited about it. I am humbled. There is a long history here of great men as chief. We had Grady Stockton, Neal Stockton, Scott Cunningham and Chief Summers. Those are some big shoes to fill, and I am honored to come behind those great men,” Tilley said.
While he is excited to serve as Kernersville’s new police chief, Tilley will miss working for and with Summers.
“He is a great leader. He genuinely cares about this community and this Town, and with every police department employee he has their best interests at heart. He is a great mentor and a great friend,” said Tilley.
Summers was happy to see Tilley named chief and believes it is a testimony to the KPD itself.
“I think when your top two candidates for chief come from within, obviously we are doing something right. I think Jason Tilley has worked extremely hard to prove himself, and this promotion is well deserved,” Summers said.
Swisher stated that there were 20 applicants for the chief position, and some of them were out of state. The applicants were whittled down to three, two of which were internal from the KPD and one that was external. The application process included a written test and much more. After the field for the position was whittled down to three applicants, they went through four scenarios that they had to deal with in one day, with accessors keeping tabs on their progress.
Swisher said one of the required presentations was a 45 minute to one-hour presentation to the Board of Aldermen, represented by three assessors, where the applicants had to make a compelling case for boosting the number of KPD employees and negotiate pay raises.
Another exercise was to hold a community meeting arguing to keep the KPD in charge of SROs (Student Resource Officers) in town. The assessors at the meeting represented the Forsyth County sheriff, a Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board member and a police lieutenant. Swisher said what made this part of the application more difficult was that the assessor playing the part of the Forsyth County sheriff actually was Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby F. Kimbrough, Jr.
“When we were done, Sheriff Kimbrough wondered ‘if he might have been too hard on the applicants,’” Swisher said.
The last part of the application process was a one-on-one interview with Swisher.
“For me, that was the easiest part, but maybe not for them,” Swisher said.
Swisher stated that in all aspects of the hiring process, the top two candidates were internal candidates.
Tilley acknowledged the application process was difficult, and he was happy with the results.
“It is very difficult. It is probably one of the hardest things I have done. I think some of the challenges were not only the process itself and the work that was involved, but also not letting people down and not letting the department down. I wanted to do well for everybody here,” Tilley said.

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