Weldon chief is EC's new deputy police chief


James Avens, new deputy chief of the Elizabeth City Police Department.


From staff reports

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Elizabeth City Police Department’s new deputy police chief is the former chief of the Weldon police department.

When he arrives next month, James E. Avens Jr. will be only the second person to ever hold the deputy police chief’s job. John Young, who retired last year, was the department’s first deputy chief.

Avens’ starting date in Elizabeth City is Aug. 13, City Manager Rich Olson announced in his weekly update to the mayor and City Council on Friday.

“Deputy Chief Avens is very excited about being a part of the Elizabeth City Police Department team; Chief (Eddie) Buffaloe and I believe he will be a huge asset to the Department,” Olson said.

Avens, who currently lives in Roanoke Rapids, told The Daily Herald newspaper in an interview following his resignation from the Weldon Police Department that he had prayed about the career move and consulted his pastor about it.

“The decision to leave Weldon and move to Elizabeth City was not done in haste,” Avens told the newspaper. “A lot of thought and consideration was given to the matter.”

He said he’s looking forward to working in Elizabeth City and believes he’s “up for the challenge.”

“I feel I can be an asset to the Elizabeth City Police Department with the knowledge and skill sets I’ve acquired serving as Weldon deputy chief and chief,” he told The Daily Herald.

According to Olson, Avens has 17 years of law enforcement experience. Before being named chief of the Weldon department on May 8, 2017, he worked as deputy chief, captain and as an officer for the department. Prior to his work in Weldon, Avens worked as a school resource officer in the Northampton County Schools. He started his law enforcement career in 2001, according to the Herald, as a deputy sheriff and drug agent for the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office.  

According to the Herald, Avens attended both Elizabeth City State University and St. Paul’s College, earning his bachelor of science degree in business administration from Saint Paul’s in Lawrenceville, Virginia. He holds a master of science degree in administration from Central Michigan University.

Avens is also a 2012 graduate of the North Carolina State University Law Enforcement Executive Program, a 2013 graduate of the FBI’s Carolina Command College, and a 2017 graduate of Methodist University.

Avens told the Herald he was proud of a number of policing initiatives he helped start in Weldon, including a Citizens Police Academy and the Public Safety Kids Academy. The Elizabeth City Police Department operates similar programs. 

Avens’ wife, Christie C. Avens, is Halifax County’s register of deeds. The couple have three children.