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'93 BLET Grad Now Ayden's Police Chief

Ayden Police Chief Barry StanleyAYDEN—While many struggle with identifying their life’s calling, it’s a safe bet to say Barry Stanley has never experienced that frustration.

Stanley, who recently became the Town of Ayden’s police chief, says he “knew from a very early age” that he wanted to pursue a law enforcement career.

“I have always enjoyed helping people and doing things that will better my community,” he says. “I was very involved in the Law Enforcement Explorer program from age 15 until I turned 20.”

Stanley, now 40 years old, says he felt well prepared for a life of protecting and serving his fellow citizens when he completed Pitt Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program in March 1993. His first job in law enforcement was with the Town of Grifton, where he served as a patrol officer for two years.

After joining the Ayden Police Department as a patrol officer in 1996 and working his way up to sergeant, Stanley went on to become Bethel’s assistant police chief in 2001. He took over as the town’s police chief in October 2005 and remained in that capacity until taking the same position with Ayden on Dec. 9, 2011.

Looking back on his career, Stanley says education “played a strong role” in his rise through the ranks. “Good, quality training is what is needed to excel in a law enforcement career,” he says. “… Better-educated and trained officers serve their communities much better.”

Stanley notes that police training doesn’t end with BLET graduation. He says officers must seek specialized and in-service instruction throughout their careers in order to stay current with changes in the law and to be ready for the duties they must perform each day.

Make no mistake – fighting crime is tough work. In addition to the inherent danger associated with arresting individuals who break the law, Stanley says the job produces a higher level of stress than most and requires officers to work varying schedules that often conflict with important family functions.

“Working nights, weekends, holidays, as well as missing anniversaries and birthdays, makes it tough a lot of times,” he says, adding that those who are married and considering law enforcement as a career should make sure their significant others are on board and involved with the decision.

Successful law enforcement personnel, Stanley says, possess good social skills and outgoing personalities. He says it also takes a good sense of humor, compassion and empathy combined with honesty and integrity to do the job well.   

His advice to those pursuing his line of work is to “always be aware of what is going on around you” and “to keep control of whatever situation you are involved in.”

For those who do earn a badge, Stanley says they will find stable employment that is both challenging and rewarding. Another benefit, he says, is a “great retirement package.”