Stanley Police plan to improve
Lieutenant completes 400 hours of training

Gazette Staff Reporter

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STANLEY - Training is the word over at the Stanley Police Department, where Chief Heath Jenkins is making moves to update and improve the 10-officer organization.

The department announced last month that Lt. Tim Branch graduated from the management development program of the North Carolina Justice Academy. The course includes training in management and team building.

The nearly yearlong course requires more than 400 hours of training. Such training is more frequent at larger departments such as Gaston County and Gastonia Police.

"I felt like it would bring our performance and level of professionalism up in our department and I hope to have more officers, including myself, attend training like this in the future," Jenkins said.

Stanley Police also hosted a recent three-day seminar on homicide investigations.

Stanley Police invited Vernon Geberth, a former New York City Police investigations commander who worked more than 8,000 cases. Considered a top expert in his field, the seminar was attended by police departments around North Carolina and the East Coast.

Moreover, the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission appointed Jenkins to its council in October. The state panel of judges and officers is tasked to look at ways to ensure that innocent people are not sentenced for crimes they did not commit.

The commission is also tasked with reviewing cases filed by those in prison who say they are innocent. The cases are handled through lawyers representing people in prison.

"Right now, there is a lot of change in the way we handle evidence," Jenkins said. "DNA evidence is one way that has really changed. So what we do is review these things and make recommendations to the North Carolina Criminal Justice Standards Commission, the organization that oversees all law enforcement in the state."

Jenkins is optimistic that the experience will bring positives to Stanley.

"Anything that adds professionalism to the department and training that we haven't all had, I think Stanley wins," Jenkins said.

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