Former Capt. Lawrence Capps was sworn in as Knightdale’s new police chief Friday afternoon.
Capps is replacing former chief Jason Godwin, who announced his resignation earlier last week. Godwin will be taking a position at Wake Stone as a Safety and Health Director.
Capps joined Knightdale police in 2010 from the Smithfield Police Department, where he was a driving force in that department’s accreditation process.
That skill set will come in handy as he continues Knightdale’s accreditation efforts. Capps said becoming accreditated will continue to be one of the department’s major short-term goals.
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“The Knightdale Police Department is growing along with the community, seeking national accreditation while maintaining close, personal connections with our residents,” said Town Manager Seth Lawless. “Lawrence Capps has distinguished himself both here and outside the area. He will do an excellent job as Chief.”
Capps also plans to continue other policies and procedures Godwin instituted during his two-year tenure as chief.
“Having worked under Chief Godwin over the last few years, I’ve been a big part of trying to push a lot of the change,” Capps said. “A lot of the processes and policies we’ve developed were needed.”
The two created a department that is positively engaged with the community, town officials say.
“We’re grateful to have someone with Lawrence’s skill set and knack for relationship- building in this important position,” said Mayor Russell Killen.
In 2012, Capps was promoted to Sergeant, which is the same rank as current Knightdale Lieutenants. The department restructured its ranks earlier this year.
“I can’t say how much this town ... has done for me and I hope to return the favor,” Capps said when he was sworn in.
Capps holds a diploma from Johnston Community College and will finish his criminal justice degree at Fayetteville State University in 2015.
Capps recently completed the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Va., an invitational program for law enforcement leaders.
He is also a criminal justice instructor at Johnston Community College. In the past, Capps has held positions as a corrections officer, police officer, field training officer, detective and line supervisor.
Capps’ will handle the hiring for his empty position, although he said he doesn’t know if it will be a long or short process.
“Getting the right person for this position is going to be extremely important to us, I don’t want to rush to a decision,” he said.