Criner Out as Rocky Mount Police Chief

ROCKY MOUNT – Rocky Mount Police Chief Ken Criner is retiring after seven years as Chief, almost eleven years with the Town, and close to thirty-five years in law enforcement.

“I am extremely honored to have served the Town of Rocky Mount as Chief of Police for the last seven years and in the field of Law Enforcement for almost thirty-five years. I am looking forward to retirement and being able to spend more time with my family,” said Criner.

Chief Criner came to Rocky Mount in December 2010 after retiring from the Roanoke Police Department. He became the Rocky Mount Police Chief in 2014.

“Chief Criner has had a long, distinguished career in law enforcement, completing his more than thirty years of public service as the Rocky Mount Police Chief. He has guided the Rocky Mount Police Department through some challenging and trying times and given his all to the Rocky Mount community. Chief Criner is a good man whose knowledge, experience, and wisdom will be missed. Everyone with the Town wishes Ken and his family the best in his well-deserved
retirement,” said Town Manager Robert Wood.

Captain Mark Lovern will serve as the Acting Chief for the Rocky Mount Police Department. The Town will begin a recruitment process as soon as possible to search for a new chief. That process is anticipated to take several months.

Criner’s last couple of years with the Rocky Mount Police Department were riddled with controversy at times. In April of 2020, then town manager James Ervin announced Criner had been placed on paid leave after three complaints had been filed in two days. Criner later returned to the job. Ervin didn’t comment on the nature of the complaints citing employee confidentiality.

In January 2021, two Rocky Mount Police Officers were fired after they posted pictures of them inside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6.

The department also saw relatively high turnover in the past year.

The announcement of Criner’s retirement came from Rocky Mount Town Manager Robert Wood, who was appointed in April of this year. The Assistant Town Manager, Mark Moore replaced Matt Hankins, who left the town in June of 2020.