By Sarah Calams
CATAWBA COUNTY, NC — For many, a new year often translates into taking on various challenges like eating healthier and exercising more consistently. But for a 24-year-old, he decided to enter 2023 under a new title: police chief.
William Armstrong, police chief for the town of Brookford, started the position in January but had previously worked as a part-time officer for the department, the Hickory Daily Record reported. Prior to assuming the role of Chief of Police, Armstrong worked at the Statesville (NC) Police Department and the Lincoln County (NC) Sheriff’s Office. He is currently the only full-time Brookford officer, but the department has nine part-time officers — with hopes of hiring at least two full-time officers within the next few years.
“[Armstrong] has been working hard ever since he started,” Brookford City Councilman Charles Bargsley told the Hickory Daily Record. “[The town council] told him we would support him with everything he needed. We want our police department to be bigger and stronger.”
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The city council said selecting Armstrong as their next chief was a no-brainer, noting he was a good fit because he is familiar with the area and is well-known in the community. Bargsley acknowledged Armstrong’s age, but told the publication he sees it as a positive hiring factor — and says he hopes it means Armstrong will stay with the department for a long time.
Armstrong is focused on getting the department up to date, saying the agency was “running pretty old school” with “all hard copy.” Although his department is small, Armstrong is currently applying for a $25,000 grant to get new equipment like vests, computers and radios to keep his officers safe. And by the end of the year, Armstrong hopes to have new uniforms for his officers.
Armstrong is the first black chief in Brookford, a fact he hopes will inspire others to join the law enforcement profession: “Most of us don’t really get into law enforcement, let alone be the chief. It’s a blessing . I hope that I can bridge that gap and hopefully pave the way for us to see many more people follow their dream like I did.”
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