Letteney

THOMASVILLE — Thomasville's sixth police chief will be sworn in Monday at the top of a city council meeting.

The council meeting will be called to order at 6 p.m. in council chambers at city hall, 144 E. Jackson St., and move to adjacent Thomasville Fire/Rescue, where John Letteney will be sworn in. The meeting will then resume in council chambers.

The swearing-in ceremony will take place in Fire/Rescue bay No. 1.

COVID-19 precautions will be in place. Seats will be spaced appropriately and provide seating for about 50.

Monday will be Letteney's first day on the job. He comes to Thomasville from Apex, North Carolina, where he retired Dec. 31 as police chief.

During the next two months, Letteney will meet individually with each TPD employee, listen to their ideas and be open to their comments.

He also will listen to the community's concerns and develop a blueprint of where TPD should be headed.

He has no sweeping TPD changes in mind, pointing out that he does not believe in "change for the sake of change."

Letteney has 39 years of law enforcement experience in Rochester, New York, and in Southern Pines and Apex in North Carolina.

Letteney said he was aware of Thomasville Police Department's reputation as an outstanding law enforcement agency and accredited by Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies since the 1980s.

TPD has a long-standing history of service and changing with the times, he said.

"Law enforcement must change over time," Letteney said. "They've done that."

TPD has 61 sworn officers and seven civilian employees. 

Letteney, 59, is vice president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, a worldwide organization with 31,000 members in 165 countries.

The new chief was chosen for the position after a lengthy, in-depth search.

R.T. Alley was Thomasville's first police chief. Prior to chiefs being appointed, TPD top cops were known as marshals and were elected by city voters. The first TPD marshal was John Spair, who served from 1864 to 1899.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820 

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