Monday, August 19, 2013 —
The City Public Works Conference Room was filled last Thursday as a new police chief and assistant chief were sworn in.
Ralph Norton, who has served as interim chief since the retirement of Ricky Wilson, was made permanent chief as Mayor David Smith attended to his swearing in. Jody Williams took the oath as assistant chief.
“I thank God, my family, my mother, my brothers and sisters, and some of my teachers from elementary and middle school,” Norton said. He also recognized “a lot of officers I worked with in the past,” including former chiefs James Finch, Gary Mason and Wilson. He gave credit to the city staff and City Council.
Norton said he was looking forward to working with his command staff with the intent to “carry the department to new heights. I’m greatly honored to serve in this role. Thanks to all those who laid the foundation.”
Williams gave credit to “my Lord Jesus Christ and my wife (Traci) and two who are not here, my mom and dad. They reared me in the ways I should go.”
He also thanked those who had displayed leadership and friendship while he’s been on the force, particularly Grady Garner, the first supervisor he met on the job. “I wanted to be like him. Thanks very much. I’ll do the best of my ability.”
After the ceremony, Norton was surrounded by seven of his former teachers at Ramseur Elementary School, including
Mary Allred, Charlotte Feaster, Nancy Martin, Margaret Workman, Mary Isley, Margaret Anderson and Gilbert Brown.
Allred said in an interview that “he was a very special student, a hard worker. The faculty is not surprised he’s earned this title. He often thought of others before himself. He’s an all-around nice person.
“I believe any decision he makes will be honest and fair,” said Allred. “He’s an asset to the city.”
Norton was joined by his wife Pat and other family members. They have daughters, Stephanie Norton, Amber Johnson and Jamie Johnston, and grandchildren Brytain Lawson, Julie Johnston, Piper Johnson and Jake Johnston.
Williams took the oath surrounded by wife Traci and sons, Cody, Levi and Noah. He also has a grandddaughter, Emmie.