Welcome Home

Published 5:13 pm Friday, March 3, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

AULANDER – Jeremy Roberts has come full circle.

During a brief ceremony held here Wednesday afternoon, Roberts accepted the oath of office to become the Town of Aulander’s Police Chief.

Roberts, a native of Ahoskie, began his career in law enforcement as a full-time police officer in Aulander in 1996. He spent the majority of his career with the Ahoskie Police Department, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Detective before retiring in 2021.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Roberts said after taking the oath of office from Lynne Conner, Clerk to the Aulander Board of Commissioners. “We’re going to start off running. Nothing that gets broke in a day will be fixed in a day. It takes two to fix something, and that’s me and you.”

The new Chief encouraged town citizens to help him fix problems.

“Help be part of the solution, not add to the problem,” Roberts suggested.

Roberts promised that he would be “out and about a lot.”

“Don’t be alarmed when you see me pull off the side of the road and get out and walk for a couple of hours, visiting with folks on the front porch, talking to them and shaking hands,” he said. “In this day and age, law enforcement will not survive without community relations. My door will always be open unless I’m inside talking with someone or I’m not in the office.”

When talking about the process of rebuilding the police force to full strength, Roberts remarked, “I don’t have officers that work for me, I have officers that work with me,” he stressed. “I wouldn’t ask them to do something that I wouldn’t do right along with them or I hadn’t already done myself. Work with us and pray for us and we can all make this a better place.”

“We are excited and looking forward to a bright future and much success for him (Roberts) here,” said Bryan Morings, Aulander’s interim Mayor.

Bertie Sheriff Tyrone Ruffin was among those welcoming Roberts to Aulander. Ruffin spoke of his previous work with Roberts when they were both members of the Ahoskie Police Department.

“I started my career in 2007 and my Lieutenant at that time was Jeremy Roberts,” Ruffin recalled. “I know what he can do. I’m where I’m at today in the position I’m in because of his leadership and his guidance from 2007 until this day.

“We look forward to working very closely with Aulander. We always have and we always will. We look forward to building an even stronger relationship,” Sheriff Ruffin added.

The hiring of Roberts comes at a critical time in the town. The majority of its police force, including the chief, resigned in recent months. That left only two part-time officers. The Bertie Sheriff’s Office helped fill some of that loss of law enforcement protection.

The town is also reeling from a horrific attack on Feb. 20 that left an 80-year-old woman dead and her 62-year-old caregiver seriously injured. Those crimes are under investigation by the Bertie Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina SBI.

Bertie County Commissioner Corey Ballance Sr., a resident of Aulander, welcomed the arrival of a new Police Chief as the town begins the healing process of last month’s senseless crime

“Even though we’re having some low times right now, I believe this community is in the process of turning things around,” said Ballance. “The question was asked if the crime [Feb. 20 murder and assault] came from not having a Chief of Police. Crime is everywhere. The only thing we can do about it is come together as a community and do everything we can to prevent crime. Bringing [Roberts] onboard will be a very, very strong enforcement for our town. This [hiring] should make the citizens feel better and the business owners feel better.”

Aulander Commissioner Jeanette Tinkham added her welcome to Chief Roberts.

Roberts, whose first official day on the job was Thursday (March 2), told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that he will immediately begin the process of filling the three vacant part-time positions within his department.

“Those five officers will rotate shifts on nights and weekends. Once all the positions are filled, there will be someone on duty 24/7,” Roberts said.

Over the course of his previous law enforcement career, Roberts spent over 10,000 hours in advanced training. He has completed studies at the Law Enforcement Senior Management Institute; is a graduate of Criminal Investigator Specialist Training; and holds certification (from the NC Justice Academy) as a Firearms Instructor and Rapid Deployment Instructor.

Roberts also served as a member of the North Carolina Counterfeit Trademark Task Force, sworn in by the NC Secretary of State.

In 2011, Roberts earned his Advanced Law Enforcement Degree.

He also holds certification in the Automated Fingerprint Identification System. That system is connected to a database used by the FBI and SBI. Roberts used that training to assist the Ahoskie Police and other local law enforcement agencies needing that type of help in helping to solve criminal cases.

In 2016, Roberts was awarded the highest level of certification when he graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA. That was a special 10-week investigative training course, consisting of advanced communication, leadership, and fitness training for police officers.

Roberts is the father of three children, ages 14, 12, and 5.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal