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The original item was published from 8/31/2021 4:36:58 PM to 10/1/2021 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: August 31, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Charles (Rob) Thornburg named North Wilkesboro Chief of Police

August 31, 2021




[NORTH WILKESBORO, NC, August 31, 2021] – After an extensive open search, Charles (Rob) Thornburg has been named North Wilkesboro Chief of Police, Town Manager Wilson Hooper announced today. Thornburg has been serving as Interim Chief of Police since the retirement of Chief Joe Rankin last January. 

“I believe in hiring the best candidate, whether internal or external. And when you hire an internal candidate, an open search helps you confirm that you’ve got the right person,” said Hooper. 

“Such was the case with Chief Thornburg. We were fortunate that a number of very strong candidates vied for this job, and each of our finalists was experienced and capable of being our chief. Rob’s résumé, his accomplishments, and his performance during the selection process compared favorably to the other candidates who’d been chiefs of police before. His service as interim chief also showed me that in addition to measuring up on paper and around the interview table, he could actually perform the job. Rob has demonstrated both the diplomacy and the firmness required of a police chief, and you can’t go anywhere with the guy without stopping to chat with all the people who know him, trust him, and want to talk with him. Ultimately that’s what set him apart from the other candidates, his ability to step into the job on day-one and already have my trust and confidence, the trust and confidence of his officers, and the trust and confidence of community members. I believe he’s going to be an effective chief.”

Chief Thornburg added: “It’s an honor and a privilege to accept the permanent position as Chief of Police for the Town of North Wilkesboro.  As most people know, I started here at the North Wilkesboro Police Department in 1995 and have worked in every position and in all capacities.  I believe my training and experience will bring continued values, compassion, and professionalism to the citizens of the town.   I want to personally say thank you for all of the support I have received from the community; my heart has been overfilled.  I also want to say thank you to all of the dedicated officers here at the North Wilkesboro Police Department for all of their support as well.  The officers here at the North Wilkesboro Police Department are the best around, and I would put them up against any other department.”

“I look forward to working with Chief Thornburg to continue the work of improving our town and protecting its citizens and businesses,” added North Wilkesboro Mayor Robert Johnson. “I wish him great success, which I think will happen. The fact that Chief Thornburg has served in a leadership capacity with us already, and the fact that his selection will be popular with our officers, give me this confidence. And I’ll lend my help as mayor, and as an individual, to help him be successful.” 

The recruitment process began upon the announcement of Chief Rankin’s retirement last December. Town Manager Hooper immediately consulted advisors from the North Carolina League of Municipalities for best practices on police chief recruitments. In January, an officers’ survey was launched to receive feedback from NWPD staff on what they wanted to see in their next chief. The results of the survey were discussed with the Board of Commissioners in late January and, along with the Board’s feedback, used to produce a position profile advertised on industry websites from the end of February through April. 

Twelve candidates meeting the minimum qualifications applied, including chiefs from towns in Maine, Florida, and South Carolina. Four were invited to participate in a panel interview with the Town Manager and participants from the state’s law enforcement and criminal justice communities in July. These four finalists also took an “Emotional IQ Assessment” administered by human resources consultant Eleanor Green. Three finalists were invited to North Wilkesboro to meet with the Town Manager individually.  

“I want to thank the other candidates. It was an honor to have such dedicated and experienced public servants consider North Wilkesboro,” Hooper said. “Their towns are in good hands.”

Thornburg’s first day as permanent Chief of Police will be September 1, 2021. A public swearing-in will be held on a date to be determined.  

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