Kernersville, NC -- Monday, Kernersville Police Chief Ken Gamble announced his resignation from the police force. Gamble was due to return back to work on Monday, after being out on a two week suspension.
Town Manager Curtis Swisher, would not comment on the specifics of the suspension because he said it was a personnel issue. According to a news release from the Town of Kernersville on Monday, Chief Gamble cited "a difference in leadership and management style that's incompatible with the Town Manager and the vision of the board's department for moving ahead for the reasons he's stepping down."
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WFMY News 2 obtained emails between Chief Gamble and town leaders. The emails revealed that the town manager and council had placed Gamble on six months probation starting February 15, 2013.
The emails also revealed that the town of Kernersville gave staff police department employees a morale survey that came back negative. Gamble developed an action plan and timeline for more staff training, salary increases, hiring positions and updating police gear. However an email from Gamble to town leaders said they didn't give him enough time or support to carry out the changes.
Friday, Swisher released the following information about Chief Gamble's departure:
Subsequent to the former Police Chief, Kenneth Gamble's, last annual evaluation in November of 2012, the Town Manager became aware of numerous problems within the Police Department including a lack of leadership and low morale. In January 2013, unbeknownst to the Town Manager, the former Police Chief authorized a survey within the Department regarding morale and other issues. The Town Manager later learned the results of the former Chief's survey, and the Town Manager then met with other employees of the Department to investigate further. Pursuant to what the Town Manager learned, the former Police Chief was placed on a six-month probationary period.
The Town Manager may, at any time during such probationary period, take any action deemed necessary for the proper administration of the Police Department. While at first, the Town Manager was hopeful that the leadership and morale problems, within the Police Department, could be successfully addressed by the former Chief, it soon became apparent that the same was not possible. It became obvious that there was an immediate need for change in leadership to reflect the Town's expectations for the future of the Kernersville Police Department.
The former Police Chief was then placed on a two weeks paid administrative leave during which time the former Police Chief was afforded an opportunity to think through his personal situation as well as the betterment of the Kernersville Police Department. The former Police Chief tendered his resignation on Monday, March 18, 2013, citing, in part, that management and leadership styles were incompatible, which statement was concurred with by the Town Manager.
The Town Manager has, in place, a program, plan, and the personnel, including Police Services Manager, Carol Hauser, Captain Steve Bowman, and Captain Tim Leonard, fully capable of continuing all police services as have been afforded the citizens of the Town of Kernersville in the past. They will be responsible for the daily operations of the Police Department for the current time.
The Town Manager will undertake the process of appointment of a new Police Chief, and announcement of such individual will be made at the appropriate time.