After two years as police chief, Jason Godwin is stepping down on Friday to take a position at the Knightdale-based company Wake Stone.
On Monday, Godwin will become at the company’s safety and health director, Wake Stone Vice President Tom Oxholm said.
Godwin, who came to Knightdale as assistant police chief in 2010, said, “It was time to pursue a new direction.”
“It was the magic combination of a great opportunity combined with the progress the department had made and feeling like I had done a lot for it and felt the major points have been conquered,” he said.
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Godwin’s law enforcement career began 20 years ago in Johnston County, where he started as a school resource officer. He moved through various positions in Johnston County until 2010, when he came to Knightdale.
Since then, he’s focused on strengthening policies, programs and initiatives that keep the town’s crime rate low and officers in front of the people.
The department is more proactive than reactive now, Godwin said, which keeps residents happy.
“That’s been the biggest accomplishment – just building programs and initiatives that have better connected the department and the community and living up to their expectations,” he said.
When Godwin arrived, the department had just one female employee, an officer; he hired three more female officers, including a captain, and a female office worker. He also said the success of the department’s K-9 unit is another point of pride.
His work has left an impression on other town staff and elected officials.
“Jason made a lot of progress in a relatively short time,” said Town Manager Seth Lawless. “He’s a valuable member of our leadership team.”
Councilor Mike Chalk, who serves on the public safety subcommittee with Godwin, noted the effort he put into accrediting the department, a long process that he jump-started by dedicating part of the department’s budget to hiring an accreditation manager earlier this year.
“I really hate to see him go,” Chalk said. “He has moved this department up to another level.”
Chalk also noted that Godwin did a good job managing officers, reaching out to the community and keeping other town departments involved.
“I know whatever he’s doing, he’ll do an excellent job at it,” Chalk said. “Whoever’s getting him is real lucky.”
Godwin is the second Knightdale police chief to resign abruptly in the last three years. Godwin’s predecessor, Shawn Brown, resigned in 2012 after a string of conflicts, including an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation.
Town officials say they are seeking Godwin’s successor.