Stevens now on patrol

Published 12:57 pm Thursday, November 19, 2009

WOODLAND — It was a changing of the “chief.”

On Tuesday, Jesse Stevens, formerly with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, was officially sworn in as Police Chief of Woodland.

In a crowded room, Stevens, with a hand on the Bible held by his wife, Niecy, stood to take the oath given by Woodland Mayor Jay Jenkins. The swearing-in of a new chief brought curious citizens and supporters from local law enforcement agencies to the Town Hall.

Before the swearing-in ceremony, Jenkins noted it was a bittersweet day as the town was saying goodbye to Don Ryan who served as Police Chief for 17 years.

Ryan, who will be around for the next two weeks to show his successor the ropes, congratulated Stevens.

“I think you’ll make an excellent chief,” he said.

Jenkins said the candidates for chief were strong, but he believed the town made the right decision.

“It’s good to have you here,” said Jenkins to Stevens. “Northampton (County) gains an officer by keeping you here and Woodland certainly gains an officer.”

“I’m excited to get started,” said Stevens to the audience. “I’m going to do my very best to make sure Woodland is safe.”

Stevens is native of Florida, but has been with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office as a sergeant for three years. His experience in law enforcement goes back much farther, beginning 17 years ago with a sheriff’s office in Georgia. He also worked in Orlando, Fla.

Before starting his law enforcement career, Stevens served 13 years in the military; six years as an active Marine and seven in the Army National Guard.

Stevens said after the military, he actually had an ambition to go to law school, but decided to go into law enforcement instead.

He is currently attending Chowan University in Murfreesboro for a duel major in criminal justice and international affairs.

For the past three years he has worked with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office and, for the most part, covering the eastern portion of the county.

Stevens said many of the problem areas in town are coming under control and he hopes to improve things from there.

Stevens’ new job was effective immediately.

In other business, the Woodland Town Council approved an annual mutual aid agreement between the Woodland Police Department and surrounding law enforcement agencies.