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Gastonia has its new police chief

Trent Conard now has the job as the city's top cop, bringing almost three decades of experience in Gastonia to the table.

GASTONIA, N.C. — The city of Gastonia didn't have to look far for its newest police chief. In fact, the man currently serving as interim chief will take the helm fully.

Interim Chief Trent Conard will soon drop the word "interim" from his title, becoming the chief of the Gastonia Police Department. The city chose Conard after a nationwide search that saw 40 applications sent in. Eight candidates were interviewed, with four picked to take part in an assessment panel conducted by the Centralina Regional Council.

“After an extensive nationwide search, it was clear that Interim Chief Conard was the right choice to continue leading the GPD,” said City Manager Michael Peoples. “His depth and breadth of experience in law enforcement, internal organizational and management skills, and passion for the communities of Gastonia will serve the department and our citizens well as he steps into this new role.”

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Conard has served with the department since 1996 and has 28 years of experience. He was promoted from captain to assistant police chief in October 2020 and named interim chief in October 2022. Previously, outgoing police chief Travis Brittain announced he was retiring, and the search for a new chief opened up.

“I look forward to serving the citizens of Gastonia as Police Chief and leading a department of dedicated public servants who share my passion to protect and serve through direct and intentional community involvement inclusive to all residents and visitors of our diverse city,” said Chief Conard.

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Conard's time with the department has seen him command the Criminal Investigations Division and the Special Situations Unit, the latter of which includes SWAT operations. He also created and implemented the department's Police Training Officer program in 2005, which has seen more than 180 officers trained.

Conard has a bachelor's of business administration from Montreat College, is a North Carolina-certified instruction, and a nationally-certified Problem-Based Learning instructor. He also graduated from the West Point Leadership Program and attended the FBI Command College.

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