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Phelps named Police Chief in Lenoir

LENOIR, NC (Friday, July 13, 2018)…Brent Phelps will be the next Police Chief for the City of Lenoir. City Manager Scott Hildebran made the announcement this morning, Friday, July 13, 2018, to the Police Department and other City staff.

“Brent is well-liked and respected by his peers in the City and across the state,” Hildebran said. “During his 22 years of service to Lenoir, he has developed strong relationships and bonds in the community, and I’m confident in his ability to lead the department and serve the Citizens of Lenoir.”

Phelps was selected after an extensive assessment process that included several high-quality candidates. The assessors described him as calm, approachable, knowledgeable, and well-prepared, both academically and professionally, to serve as Chief.

“He has led in numerous positions during his career and currently serves in key roles in the department,” Hildebran said. “Given his background, his reputation, and his service in Lenoir, he’s a great fit for the city.”

Chief Scott Brown seconded Hildebran and said Phelps is the right man for the job.

“I am proud to have served alongside Brent for many years. He is a great man and a dedicated police officer who truly cares about his people and community,” Brown said. “I know several of the applicants and realize this was a difficult decision for the City Manager – they are top quality people. However, I certainly second his choice and thank the Phelps family for their willingness to accept this appointment. Chief Phelps will do a great job for the City of Lenoir.”

Phelps said he is honored to be chosen as the next Chief of Police.

“I am excited for the new opportunity to continue to serve the community I call home and to work with the fine men and women in the City of Lenoir Police Department and the City of Lenoir,” Phelps said.

As Chief, Phelps said he doesn’t plan to make any drastic changes in the department, but he does plan to focus on a couple issues. He said he’d like to look for ways to allocate more resources to Code Enforcement, and he said the department is going to have to work hard to recruit and retain high-quality officers, just like all other departments across the county.

“We’re at a very good place as a department,” Phelps said. “And I look forward to continuing the successes of Chief Scott Brown.”

Phelps started his law enforcement career in 1996 with the Lenoir Police Department. He has served as a patrol officer, narcotics investigator, patrol sergeant, patrol lieutenant, investigations lieutenant, and professional standards lieutenant. Since 2012, Phelps has served as the Captain of Support Services, the senior captain of the department.

As the senior captain, Phelps supervises the department in the absence of the Chief, supervises 18 full-time and eight part-time employees, serves as one of two public information officers for the department, interacts with the media almost daily, manages internal investigations, oversees the department’s communication center, and more.

During his 22 years of service in Lenoir, Phelps has built and maintained strong relationships within the department, the City, the community, and the county. Becoming the City of Lenoir Police Chief is a goal he has been working toward.

“I like the size of our department, and I love our community,” Phelps said. “For the past 10 years, I’ve thought I would like to be Chief one day, but I really wanted to be a Chief here in Lenoir.”

Phelps said he decided several years ago that he didn’t want to chase a Chief’s position that took him to another agency. He decided he would stick with the City of Lenoir, put in the work, continue his education and training, and wait for the right opportunity.

“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been here 22 years,” Phelps said.

Phelps grew up in York, SC, and his family moved to Newton in 1989, right before Phelps started his freshman year in high school.  He graduated from Newton Conover High School and then earned an Associate Degree in Applied Science from Western Piedmont Community College. In 2005, after serving almost 10 years with the Lenoir Police Department, Phelps earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science in Criminal Justice from Lees-McRae College, and in 2007, he graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA.

“I used to say that I was from South Carolina, but I’ve lived in North Carolina long enough now that this is home,” Phelps said.

Given Phelps’ extensive involvement in the community, it’s easy to see that Lenoir and Caldwell County are his home. He currently serves on the Shelter Home of Caldwell County Board of Directors. He’s one of two officers from the Lenoir Police Department that serve on the Caldwell County Incident Management Team. He served as a Youth Leader at Grace Place Church in Lenoir, and he’s coached several different baseball and softball teams over the years.

Phelps and his wife Tonya have been married 21 years. Tonya is a physical therapy assistant and works in home health. They have a daughter who will enter her senior year this fall and a son who will start his freshman year.

In his free time, Phelps likes to deer hunt with his son and spend time with his friends and family. During the summer you might see him tooling around in a Jeep Wrangler with the top down.

Phelps will take over as Chief after Chief Scott Brown retires at the end of the month. The Lenoir Police Department is hosting a reception Honoring Scott Brown from 4:00 to 6:00 pm Thursday, July 19, at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center.