Selma Town Manager Elton Daniels announced Wednesday the hiring of a new chief of police.
Captain William “Billy” Thomas, 57, was named the new chief. He assumes the position formerly held by Chief Richard Cooper who retired on August 31st.
Chief Thomas has been with the Selma Police Department just over 16 years, having started as a telecommunicator then working his ranks up through the patrol division. He had been a captain with the department for the past 4 years under former Chief Cooper.
Thomas has received numerous awards and accolades along the way including Officer of the Year in 2010 and the Distinguished Serve Award in 2017.
When asked why Daniels decided to promote from within the department, he replied, “It had a lot to do with having the right person. People are always looking to better themselves. What I want to do here in Selma is give all of our employees the opportunity to grow and advance within the organization. Rewarding talent and promoting from within engenders a culture of loyalty and stability (and) we also get a greater return on the time and resources invested in each employee by promoting from within.”
“Captain Thomas has the knowledge, skills and abilities to take our Police Department to new heights and accomplishments. He has a Bachelor’s degree as well as several certifications, including, but not limited to, Advanced Law Enforcement Certification, Crisis Intervention, Active Shooter as well as Neighborhood Crime Prevention.”
Thomas spoke to WTSB News minutes after the announcement was made today. “I am very humbled that they thought enough of me to consider me for the position. You are only as good as the people that surround you including town staff, elected officials and the town administration. I look forward to serving my community.”
Asked if he planned to make any changes as the new Selma police chief, Thomas replied, “I’ve learned a lot through the years. I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel.”
Billy Thomas and his wife, Angela, an employee of Johnston County Public Schools, have a daughter, Erica, 22, who is a nurse at Johnston Health in Smithfield. A native of Crisfield, MD, Thomas and his family now live in the Selma city limits.
An official swearing-in ceremony for Chief Thomas will take place on Wednesday, October 24th at 11:00AM at the Jernigan Building at 110 East Anderson Street in Selma. The event is open to the public.