GREENSBORO, N.C. — Brian L. James, a current deputy chief of the Greensboro Police Department, will rise to become the new police chief, the department announced Tuesday.
“I will certainly do my best each and every day to uphold this position, and help mold this police department into a department the community is proud of,” James said.
A Greensboro native, James is a graduate of Page High School.
He joined the police department on Feb. 16, 1996, as a member of the 72nd PBIC where he’s been for 23 years and counting.
“I grew up in Greensboro and had a lot of positive role models,” James says in his biography on the GPD website. “Becoming a Greensboro police officer has enabled me to be that role model that I once had and to make a positive impact on the community that made me who I am.”
James told FOX8 he plans to hold community forums, and gather officer input after being sworn in as chief January 31.
“During those meetings, that will help us to to build upon trust that we already have and establish trust with communities that we may not have a great relationship with,” he explained.
James has held a number of positions with the police department and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from North Carolina A&T State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Pfeiffer University.
He’s also a graduate of the Administrative Officer’s Management Program at North Carolina State University, the PERF Senior Management Institute for Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy.
“This is an exciting moment for the City of Greensboro,” said Assistant City Manager Trey Davis. “We have been able to select a police chief who embodies the professionalism and experience to lead the police department while having a true heart for the community as a Greensboro native.”
After beginning as a member of the 72nd PBIC, he served as a corporal and sergeant before he was promoted to supervisor of the crash investigation traffic enforcement team in 2002.
Two years later, he became supervisor for the training division and, in 2004, he was promoted to lieutenant and executive officer to the chief of police.
He also later served as executive officer to the criminal investigation division.
He was promoted to captain in 2009, serving as patrol operations commander, and, later that year, was assigned as commanding officer of the training division.
In 2011, he became the commanding officer of the central patrol division before becoming commanding officer of the resource management division.
In addition to the many roles he’s held in the police department, he’s also served in community organizations.
He serves as chair of the United Way’s African American Leadership cabinet, board chair of the Malachi House and vice-chair of Guilford Child Development.
As police chief, James will earn a $150,000 salary with an annual executive allowance of $4,320.
GPD had planned to hold a news conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday, but the department canceled it after making the announcement by news release.
The search for Greensboro’s new police chief
Chief Wayne Scott announced his retirement in August 2019, sparking the search for new leadership.
The search for the next Greensboro police chief recently narrowed down to two candidates, according to Assistant City Manager Trey Davis.
The city did not share the names of the final two candidates, but Davis said the city planned to move forward very soon.
The city received 39 applications from across the country, and, in early November, the city said there were 28 potential candidates in the running. Nineteen of which were already holding a high-ranking position like a police chief or deputy chief in their respective cities.
“We have a wide range of candidates, very diverse, from across the country. We have people as far as California and New Mexico who’ve shown interest in this job,” Davis previously told FOX8.
Since then, the city has hosted at least seven community focus groups and 15 different meetings with community, staff and other stakeholders in an effort to get feedback from the community.
“We want to move as close…move this process along so that we can be able to place the next police chief as close to the retirement of current chief Wayne Scott,” said Nathaniel Davis, Greensboro Assistant City Manager in the division of Public Safety.
City leaders wanted to make sure the community’s voice was heard in regard to the type of characteristics they would like to see in the next leader of the police department.
“There’s no secret there’s a strain between the police and the community, so we thought it would be very important the community have an opportunity at the beginning of this process to say what they wanted and say what qualities they wanted in a police chief,” Davis said.
The combined response from the meetings and the results from more than 400 people who took part in the online survey revealed one of the highest priorities people want to ensure is honesty from law enforcement.
“Residents want to see a police chief who can bring transparency and accountability to the police department. That was probably the most common thing that we heard,” Davis said.