Apex Hire Letteny As New Police Chief
He's made his mark - literally and figuratively - on the Southern Pines Police Department, and now Chief John Letteney is off to the Raleigh suburb of Apex to take the top law enforcement position there.
Letteney, 51, who has more than 30 years in law enforcement, is resigning after seven years in Southern Pines as chief. He replaces Jack Lewis, who announced his retirement after a 37-year career in law enforcement earlier this summer.
Letteney said when he came to Southern Pines seven years ago he intended to retire here, but the opportunity to work in Apex was a chance he couldn't pass up.
"Apex is a department that is growing," Letteney said of his move. "It offers an interesting and intriguing challenge to me professionally. It is the logical next step in my career."
Letteney said leaving Southern Pines will be difficult, but he believes the time is right.
"The department is in good shape to transition to a new leader," he said.
Letteney's last day with the department will be Dec. 14.
Southern Pines town officials say Letteney will be missed.
Town Council member Mike Fields said Letteney "has done a great job" as chief.
"Our community policing has really stepped up under his leadership," Fields said. "Obviously, we're going to miss him greatly, but certainly wish him well."
Letteney's swearing in ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 18, prior to the Apex Town Council's regular meeting. A public reception will precede the ceremony from 4 to 6 p.m., bidding farewell to Lewis and welcoming Letteney.
Southern Pines Town Manager Reagan Parsons called the move "a great opportunity' for Letteney.
"Apex is a larger department in a metropolitan community with a lot of planned growth," Parsons said. "We're very happy for Chief Letteney and have a great appreciation for what he's meant to Southern Pines for the past seven years."
Parsons said the town's plans to find Letteney's successor "will be developed as soon as possible."
"We successfully tackled the challenge of replacing longtime chief Gerald Galloway seven years ago," Parsons said. "I have no doubt we'll be equally as successful this time."
No interim chief has been named.
Letteney said he appreciated his time in Southern Pines.
"I hope I left an impression and brought something to the table while I was here," the outgoing chief said. "I definitely learned a lot while I was here."
Apex selected Letteney from a field of more than 100 applicants following an intensive multi-day assessment process where a team of law enforcement experts evaluated each candidate on a range of simulations and tests, according a release from the town of Apex.
"Chief Letteney exhibited the characteristics that are essential in the police chief - experience, knowledge, expertise and integrity," said Apex Town Manager Bruce Radford.
Letteney became chief in Southern Pines in 2005 after retiring from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office in Rochester, N.Y..
During his seven years in Southern Pines, Letteney oversaw several milestone events, including the department's move into a new police station in 2010.
Under Letteney the department reached out to the community in a variety of ways, including a more interactive Facebook page for the department and becoming the first local department to participate in NIXLE, an online alert program that allows residents to sign up for breaking news releases sent out by the department
As an extension of the NIXLE program, the department also added Quick Response (QR) code decals to police cars. The decals when scanned link smartphones to the department's Facebook page. That page contains updates on crimes and a link to the department's website.
Letteney has said those measures should increase community awareness and ultimately help fight crime.
Under Letteney's leadership, the Southern Pines Police Department has earned an advanced accreditation award from the The Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
CALEA standards address all aspects of an agency's adminstration operations and training.
"I'm not much for talking about personal accomplishments, because we do things as a team," Letteney said, "but if I look back on my time here, I would say one of the positives was that I set a vision for professional police services to be delivered in this community at a level that this department was capable of delivering, and the officers and staff rose to it."
Letteney also was visible in the community, being part of numerous fundraisers including the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics and the Dancing With the Sandhills Stars, an event to raise money for local organizations.
A graduate of the FBI National Academy, Letteney holds a master's degree in public administration from Marist College and a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Rochester Institute of Technology.
He also is a Team Leader and Assessor for the national police accrediting agency CALEA; Apex is currently working toward CALEA accreditation.
Letteney is also a graduate of the Municipal and County Administration Course held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Government.
Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly said he expects Letteney to make a seamless transition to his new role that will continue to move its department forward.
More like this story