Kem Braden officially sworn in as Fayetteville's new police chief

Monique John Image
Saturday, February 4, 2023
Kem Braden officially sworn in as Fayetteville's new police chief
Fayetteville's new police chief was formally sworn-in at City Hall on Friday.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Fayetteville's new police chief, Kem Braden, was formally sworn-in at City Hall on Friday. He is replacing Gina Hawkins who retired on Tuesday.

The city council chambers was packed during the ceremony with attendees from throughout the Fayetteville community including James Nolette, one of his assistant police chiefs, and his final contender for the job.

Before the ceremony, Braden told ABC11 his priority over the next 30 days is to have lots of conversations in and outside of the department, seeking to understand the people he's working alongside and the people he'll be serving in his big promotion.

In the past, Braden has said he wants to improve the department's response to mental health crises and reform its handling of homicides and other violent crime. Friday, he spoke about what he's been learning as he's been watching the Tyre Nichols case, as well as the questions that were running through his mind as he watched that graphic video.

"(W)here was the supervisor while this was going on? And B, how do officers feel comfortable enough to act the way they did, to say the things they said knowing the body camera was on?" he said. "To me, that led me to believe that supervision has got to take place first and foremost. We've got to know what our officers are doing out in the streets. We have to have supervisors more involved in calls for service. We have to have supervisors reviewing body camera footage to ensure that our officers are acting in a manner that is appropriate."

Braden is also Fayetteville's first police chief of Asian descent. Braden acknowledges that he is making history by taking on this position. However, he said ultimately, he wants to be known as "a good cop" who did right by the city.