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Roanoke Rapids police Chief Shane Guyant recognized several officers for their achievements and recognized a newly hired officer during city council’s Tuesday meeting.

“The city has an excellent police department as I’ve told you many, many times,” he said. “When  I became chief of police one of the things I told you I was going to work hard to make this one of the best police departments in the state.”

Master Officer Kathleen Williams and canine Melix

Williams had to go through training when she took over as the handler of Melix, the chief said. “This is a 240-hour, six-week canine certification course they went through.”

Guyant said one of the instructors at Ventosa in Scotland Neck told him “that this is the best canine in 20 years of doing this he has ever seen.”

Williams and Melix have developed a great bond, the chief said. “The thing you have to understand about the canine is the dog can go out and smell all it wants to but it has to have a handler that knows what its seeing and knows how to get the canine interested in what they’re trying to do. This four-legged law enforcement officer is special, but so is its handler.”

Williams is also a field training officer. “She has completed this canine program. It is a very difficult program to complete. Melix is one of two canines that we have here. but right now she is a rock star and she has an equal rock star as her handler.”

Investigators Nick Bankert and Stephan Bryant

Guyant said both investigators have completed the investigator’s certificate program through Wilson Community College. “This is a 360-hour program that has probably taken these two men probably close to six years to complete,” Guyant said. “There’s 260 core hours and 100 hours of electives. It equates to an associate’s degree in criminal justice.”

Both detectives “really and truly put a lot of work into this program. This is a very great program, this is a great accomplishment for our office to not just have one but two certified criminal investigators.”

The certification, he said, “Helps them when they go to court. They can testify as experts in certain areas. They are part of our core investigative team. Having these two certified is a wonderful thing for this city.”

Another recognition for Bryant

Guyant also recognized Bryant for obtaining his intermediate law enforcement certificate as well as closing in on his advanced law enforcement certificate. “Investigator Bankert got his advanced a couple of meetings ago. He’s got 14 years experience — a little bit of a head start on Stephan. Stephan’s got nine years experience and he’s completed eight years of experience and 32 points to get his intermediate certificate. His next step will be getting his advanced certificate — he is not far from that. By two years he will qualify for that.”

The chief noted that one of the big pushes the department has had is to try and get everyone their intermediate and advanced certificates. “It’s very important for us to have training and education but to have certification on top of that — not just to say we went to a school but to be certified.”

Both Bankert and Bryant “have been very much involved in our recent cases, especially some of our homicide cases. They work until they get the job done.”

Lieutenants Darrell Newsome and Matt Hunsucker

Guyant recognized Newsome and Hunsucker, who was unable to attend, for completion of the law enforcement management program at Wilson Community College. “They spent quite a bit of weeks over at Wilson Community College obtaining their management certificates.”

It is a program that has about 240 hours worth of management and leadership principles. “They learn all sorts of things about managing law enforcement and understanding human relations and HR capacities.”

The chief said he is proud that everybody that’s ranked lieutenant and above at the Roanoke Rapids Police Department has completed their management program. “We have a career ladder in place. A master officer has to complete a field training program. When you become a sergeant you have to complete a first line supervision course and then when you complete the lieutenant’s position you have to complete the management program. Right now we’re in compliance with that. We’re across the board — everyone that is master officer and up we consider that our first line supervision command team. They have completed everything that is required.”

Guyant said the department is going to start requiring a bit more from the captain’s position. “I’m actually working on a program with NC State called the administrative officer’s management program.”

Said the chief: “I’m very proud of both my lieutenants. They really stuck it out. They had to do a final project. They did well and they really put a lot of time and effort into completing this program.”

Lieutenant Morgan Worrell

Guyant recognized Worrell for obtaining her instructor’s certification.

“She sat in as interim captain of investigations during much of 2023. She is a liaison with our federal partners and I see a really bright future in her moving forward.”

Part of that progression was obtaining her instructor’s certificate which allows her to instruct law enforcement officers. “I am a certified teacher of that program and it is an extremely difficult program. They’re to create a lesson plan of their own. As instructors we tear that lesson plan to pieces probably about six or seven times and make them start over again and they finally come up with a project that is finished and then they have to give a 70-minute presentation. It’s a difficult, stressful situation. They also have to take a state certification examination to become an instructor.”

Of Worrell he said, “There’s a lot of future with her teaching. I am so proud that she got this certification. She is going to represent the city very well when it comes down to teaching, especially with the revamp of the BLET program at Halifax Community College. Her obtaining this instructor's certification is quite a feather in her cap.”

Officer Scott Pate  

Guyant said Pate comes to the police department with almost 25 years of experience. “Scott is a resident here in Roanoke Rapids. He comes to us from the sheriff’s office. He is going through remedial field training. It won’t take him long to be hitting the road and ready to go.”