New Kenly Police Chief named months after police force resigns

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Friday, February 24, 2023
New Kenly Police Chief named months after police force resigns
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The Town of Kenly introduced its new police chief.

KENLY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Town of Kenly introduced its new police chief.

The town made the announcement Thursday introducing James Ayers as the new chief on its Facebook page.

Ayers has been serving in law enforcement since 1993. He served as deputy sheriff in Greene County, police chief in Enfield and has also worked with the Department of Insurance Criminal Investigation Division.

Ayers' hiring comes after the entire Kenly police force resigned in July citing hostile work conditions under former Town Manager Justine Jones.

In August, the town council voted to terminate Jones' contract.

Ayers is building a department from the ground up. He outlined the steps to establishing a police department that's respected by the community.

"We got to make sure that we stay focused on addressing the community needs. In order to accomplish this, they are basically four things that we got to do. Number one, we got to hire good officers. Number two, we got to listen to our community. Number three, we got to educate the community about policing so that they would know what we are doing. It's all about transparency. And number four, we got to consult, and we got to receive feedback from the community," he said. "We should always try to strive to get better and service to our community."

Ayers said they are working to determine how many officers they will have on the police force. Currently, the department consists of Chief Ayers and a reserve officer. He hopes to be fully staffed by summer and said the department will focus on community policing.

"So, nothing gives me better joy in helping others. I have been in law enforcement for over 30 years. And I still love it. Just as much as the first day that I started. The people in Kenly are very caring. And that's one of the reason why they call it friendly Kenly. I'm blessed to be able to serve this community," Ayers said.