Dwayne Pike, a 23-year member of the Amherst Police Department who has been acting as chief for nine months, is the town’s new police chief.
“Chief Pike’s extensive education, policing experience and demonstrated leadership abilities, as well as his intimate knowledge of the town, make him very well suited for the position,” Mayor David Kogon said on March 25, moments after Amherst town council confirmed Pike’s appointment.
“We are so pleased to be able to make this appointment from within. This speaks to the quality of the officers and staff who work at the Amherst Police Department and confidence that we as council have in them.
“I have every confidence he will be an excellent leader of our police department. All members of council look forward to working with Chief Pike as he takes on this new role.”
CAO Greg Herrett agreed with the mayor.
“Chief Pike has shown through his more than two decades with the town police force that he is a true leader, one who will be able to guide the department well in the years to come,” Herrett said. “I know that I, the members of the police department and all town staff look forward to working with him.”
The Amherst Board of Police Commissioners “fully supports” Pike’s appointment, Paul Calder, board chairman, said.
“Dwayne has shown himself to be a forward-thinking individual who brings strong leadership to the department and shows great faith in the members under his command,” Calder said. “He is committed to the Amherst Police Department membership and to the citizens of the Town of Amherst.
“He is able to work effectively with his partners in policing and justice overall. We are indeed fortunate to be able to promote an individual from within the department who brings these strengths to the position.”
A graduate of the Atlantic Police Academy in 1995, Pike joined the Amherst Police Department as a constable in 1996. In January 2008, he became a detective and joined the major crime unit. A promotion to sergeant occurred in January 2010. Four years later, he was promoted to deputy chief. He became acting-chief with the retirement of Ian Nayor last summer.
“Being named chief means a lot to me, especially where my whole career has been here,” Pike said. “I’m proud to say this is where I learned everything I know about policing for the most part. A lot of people that I’ve worked with over the years really had a hand in getting me to where I am today.”
He praised the officers and staff who make up the Amherst Police department.
“I have an excellent team because they are always looking at what needs to be changed, are expecting those changes to come and have the vision to see policing in the future and what this town needs.”
That look to the future is necessary because “change is life now,” Pike said. “Things are no longer the same as they were five years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago. You always have to be looking at the horizon to see what is going to change and how do we have to adapt to that change to make sure we can provide the services the town needs and serve the community properly.”
As he takes over the town’s top police job, Pike said there are many challenges, including the cost of policing because trying to provide an efficient service that is fiscally responsible and can be paid for is “a huge challenge.”
Another challenge is ensuring members of the department are provided with proper assistance when dealing with traumatic incidents or stress-related injuries, he said.
It’s also important for his members to have the training and for the department to build partnerships with other organizations in order to ensure officers responding to incidents involving people with mental-health challenges can ensure the well-being of the person as well as the safety of the town, he added.
Another challenge is being created by changing demographics, the chief said, adding the department must be aware of the change in order to ensure the entire community is well served by its police force.
Pike said he is proud to work in Amherst.
“I came here over 20 years ago not knowing exactly what it was going to be like, but this town and community have been very, very good to me. Now it’s my chance to pay it back.”