Cary taps interim chief, former SWAT sniper, to lead Police Department

Cary Police Chief Toni Dezomits
Cary Police Chief Toni Dezomits Town of Cary

The town of Cary has tapped its interim chief, a 20-year department veteran, to lead its police department.

Toni Dezomits, 51, has served as the interim police chief since Tony Godwin retired last December. She’s been with the department since 1998 and worked as assistant police chief, professional standards commander, field operations officer and sniper on the SWAT team, according to a town news release.

“Because of the life and death nature of the job, and because of the need for positive, high-profile relationships with all aspects of the community, and because a city has nothing without safety, chief of police is the single most significant hire of a manager’s career, and I believe that Toni Dezomits is the perfect match for the department, organization and Cary as a whole,” said Town Manager Sean Stegall. “She is a very, very impressive person who works hard and demonstrates our culture at every opportunity. She is on an amazing trajectory with limitless potential to influence people in a positive way.”

Nearly 60 people applied to lead the nearly 250-person department. Town officials were not able to provide her salary information Tuesday.

Dezomits has earned the respect of the people who serve the department and has “proven to be exceptional leader,” said Allan Cain, public safety director.

She has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix, gradated from the Administrative Officer Management Program at N.C. State University, the Police Executive Leadership Development Institute at Methodist University and the FBI National Academy, according to the news release.

“From taking care of 243 people to the forward-facing nature of the job, I am incredibly honored and humbled to have been chosen for this responsibility,” Dezomits said in a statement. “I thrive in our organization’s environment — in our new culture — and while I have given my best, I know I’ve gotten here with a lot of support.”

The public is invited to a reception to welcome Dezomits at 5:30 p.m. June 27 at the municipal building.

Just 18 percent of the land within Cary remains available for development. With the town out of room to the north, south, and east, the west is Cary's last frontier for expansion.

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Anna Johnson covers Raleigh and Wake County for the News & Observer. She has previously covered city government, crime and business for newspapers across North Carolina and received many North Carolina Press Association awards, including first place for investigative reporting. She is a 2012 alumna of Elon University.
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