05/03/11 — Rhodes named new chief in Mount Olive

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Rhodes named new chief in Mount Olive

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 3, 2011 1:46 PM

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Brian Rhodes

MOUNT OLIVE -- Maj. Brian Rhodes, 46, who joined the Mount Olive Police Department in 1987 as a patrolman, is now the town's new chief of police.

Rhodes had been serving since March as interim chief following the retirement of former chief Ralph Schroeder who was on hand for the town board's unanimous decision.

The appointment is effective July 1, the start of the town's new fiscal year.

A 1982 graduate of East Duplin High School, Rhodes graduated in 1984 from the Basic Law Enforcement Training program from Coastal Community College in Jacksonville and began his law enforcement career in 1984 with the Jacksonville Police Department.

He is a graduate of the North Carolina Justice Academy and is a certified criminal investigator.

He and his wife, the former Greta Lewis, have two sons, Brad, 20, a rising senior at East Carolina University at Greenville, and Blake, 15, a rising sophomore at North Duplin High School in Calypso.

Normally, the appointment would be the duty of Town Manager Charles Brown.

"We went through 19 applications from in and out the state," Brown said. "Our unanimous recommendation to you is that we appoint Brian Rhodes as chief of police effective July 1. We think he is the best qualified candidate.

"The reason we are bringing it to the board is that we just feel like in that position it is helpful that he feel like he has the full support of the board and hopefully the support of the community."

Mayor Ray McDonald Sr. and Commissioner Kenny Talton, who served on the search committee, said their initial thoughts were to look outside the department. However, they both said that in reviewing the 19 applicants for the job that Rhodes' qualification as well as his knowledge of the town, and its residents, had stood out over all of the others.

Also, both said they had received numerous calls and visits from local residents who supported Rhodes for the job.

"They wanted someone that the people knew," McDonald said. "They wanted someone that they felt they could talk to."

McDonald praised Rhodes for upholding the department's tradition while serving as interim chief.

Commissioner George Fulghum said several people had spoken to him about Rhodes.

"He has served Mount Olive a long time and knows it as good as anybody," he said. "He has had a lot of support around town. People have not only supported him, but have taken the time and energy to make sure that is known. That has said a lot to me."