Carthage Police Chief Resigns
Carthage Chief of Police Chris McKenzie is leaving his hometown.
He resigned by letter suggesting the town hire his second-in-command as successor.
McKenzie was thrust into national prominence in 2009 when a shotgun-wielding estranged husband shot ten people in a nursing home, killing eight and wounding two. One of the wounded was an officer on McKenzie's force.
Officer Justin Garner responded to "shots fired" calls and went without waiting for backup to Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center where he faced Robert Kenneth Stewart in a hallway gunfight and ended the rampage with a single shot.
Stewart is now on trial facing eight capital counts of first-degree murder. Jury selection is under way in Stanly County, with trial to follow in Carthage. McKenzie and Garner are among many expected to testify.
The two appeared on NBC's "Today" and have since made many trips to train other law enforcement officers based on the Carthage model. Garner resigned to enter training for the N.C. Highway Patrol.
Now the chief is going, though his letter only says he and his family are moving. He had many offers over the years since Pinelake, but Carthage was hometown, and both he and his wife have many family in the area.
McKenzie strongly endorsed Bart Davis, his second-in-command at the Carthage Police Force, as his personal recommendation for the next chief of police.
McKenzie attended Union Pines High School, Sandhills Community College and Central Carolina Community College.
McKenzie served with the North Carolina Army National Guard from 1989 until 1995. He was an M-1 Abrams tank gunner and was named National Guardsman of the year for rank E-1 to E-3 in 1991.
He spent six years stationed in Fort Knox, KY., Fort Hood, TX. and Fort Bragg, N.C. The chief graduated from Basic Law Enforcement Training (B.L.E.T.) in June of 1991 and began his career as a reserve patrol officer for the City of Troy, N.C.
In June of 1992 he was hired by the Pinehurst Police Department where he spent four years as a patrol officer. During his time as a patrolman he trained numerous newly hired officers and was promoted to Corporal in 1996.
In 1998 McKenzie transferred to the Moore County Alcohol Beverage Control Law Enforcement Division as a Moore County A.B.C. Agent. While working with the Moore County A.B.C. Board he assisted in the development and implementation of a training program for all servers of alcohol called Responsible Alcohol Sales Education (R.A.S.E.).
This training educated servers of alcohol on the legal and civil aspects of their profession and the penalties for failing to do it correctly. McKenzie achieved his general instructor’s certification and also began teaching in the local law enforcement training academy. In January of 2000 he transferred to the Carthage Police Department as Lieutenant over the patrol and investigative divisions where he attained his advanced law enforcement certificate.
McKenzie was promoted to chief of police after the retirement of Chief Craig Goodnight in Feb. 2002.
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