Sean G. Newton took the oath of office on Oct. 28 as the first Chief of Police for the new campus police department at Vance-Granville Community College. The ceremonial swearing-in, administered by North Carolina District Court Judge Randolph Baskerville, was held in the Civic Center on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County.
Newton, a resident of Wake Forest, has served as VGCC’s Director of Public Safety since 2008 and officially became Chief of Police as well in late July, following approval by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission. Newton will oversee additional sworn law enforcement officers in the future, in addition to the current staff of security guards who will continue to serve all four VGCC campuses.
In welcoming remarks to the Oct. 28 ceremony, VGCC President Stelfanie Williams noted that promoting campus safety is among the goals of the college’s new “Vanguard Vision” strategic plan. “This historic ceremony is a symbol of that commitment to public safety,” Williams said. “As a college, we serve our community, hand-in-hand with our local law enforcement agencies.” Stacey Carter-Coley, the college’s Vice President of Employee and Public Relations, commended the Board of Trustees for creating the police department and said that Chief Newton is “the right person for the job of leading it.” Newton, who was educated at Broome Community College in New York, was for many years a deputy sheriff, detective and police academy instructor for Broome County, New York. After moving to North Carolina, he worked in private security before joining VGCC. Newton graduated from the college’s Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program in May 2013 and received the Academic Achievement Award for his class. Carter-Coley applauded Newton for establishing strong relationships with students, college employees and the community. After taking the oath, Newton thanked the representatives of law enforcement agencies from Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties who were present, as well as his family, BLET coordinator Tony Pendergrass and other colleagues for their support. Providing the invocation and benediction for the swearing-in ceremony was VGCC Male Mentoring program coordinator Dr. Tolokun Omokunde, who also serves as chaplain for the Oxford Police Department and Granville County Sheriff’s Office.
Of the almost 375 police departments in the state, VGCC’s force joins at least 57 others created specifically for educational institutions like universities and community colleges.