Community Cop: Leland Police Chief Tim Jayne’s
Born in Highland, New York, Jayne’s family moved to Raleigh in 1976, and although his native New York always has a place in his heart, North Carolina is his home.
“It’s great here,” Jayne says. “I live in a fantastic place to raise my kids, it’s beautiful, you couldn’t ask for better weather and I get to do what I love — serve my community.”
Jayne was raised to serve, and he and wife, Shaun, are raising their kids — Grace, 13, and Lucas, 11 — to have servants’ hearts. In his life Jayne discovered early that he had a calling to be an asset to his community.
“I remember a couple of teachers in high school and college who really inspired me to get into public service,” says Jayne. “My interest in history and law made criminal justice a natural fit.”
After graduating from high school Jayne attended Wake Technical Community College, earning an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice. Wanting more, he enrolled in UNC Charlotte and pursued his Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice.
It was in Charlotte that two life-changing events happened — one, he met Shaun, and, two, he took an internship with the then Charlotte Police Department, an internship that would lead to a career in law enforcement.
“My senior year I had an internship with Charlotte PD and I was hooked,” he says.
In 1986 Jayne joined the Charlotte Police Department as an officer and began to move up the ranks. In short order he was a sergeant and the police department had expanded, becoming the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. It also underwent tremendous growth, expanding to more than 1,700 officers.
“As I moved up through the ranks, first to sergeant then to captain, I watched our department grow,” says Jayne. “I experienced it from both sides — as an officer and as a member of the leadership — and that experience has served me well.”
By 2008 Jayne was captain, but he was looking to get out of the large metro force and into a small to mid-sized town.
“My sister and brother-in-law had moved to Magnolia Greens a few years before and our family had been out vacationing a few times,” he says. “She knew that we all loved the area and when she saw that the Leland Chief of Police was retiring, she let me know right away.”
Excited at the prospect of moving into the role of chief in a town and an area he knew a little about and had already started to fall in love with, Jayne put in his resume and application. He accepted the job in June 2008.
“When I got here the phenomenal growth that Leland and all of Brunswick County, really, had experienced was starting to slow down,” says Jayne. “The Leland PD had grown with it and my experience with Charlotte PD’s explosive growth helped me be effective quickly as a new chief.”
When Jayne joined the Leland PD, the department consisted of 25 officers; in the years since, he’s hired six more and now has a force 31 strong.
“The growth here in Brunswick County slowed, but, as a department, we had a little more room to grow,” he says. “Right now we’re in a lull, but that’s good. We have the time to work on policies and procedures, build relationships in the community and position ourselves as individuals and a department to be ready when the growth starts back up.”
Soon after his arrival, Jayne discovered a department focused on traffic issues and now what he holds dear and believes is at the heart of being a police officer — community policing. Community policing, he explains, is what you used to see on TV and what fewer people today know than ever before.
“Growing up, I knew every cop on my route to school,” he says. “They knew me and knew my parents and I was always aware that mom and dad would be the first to know if I stepped out of line. Those officers were a fixture in our community and we trusted them. I want to return to that.”
To return to that mode of police work, Jayne has incrementally shifted the focus of the department away from traffic tickets and toward relationship building. Sure, the department still works traffic stops, but since he refocused the department, they write 50 percent fewer tickets.
Instead of volume, they focus on quality and effectiveness with the way they look at traffic. By identifying peak times and High Accident Locations and increasing patrols at those places and times, they’ve been more efficient, more effective and better able to help ensure residents and visitors have a safe and enjoyable time in Leland. With a little help from the Sheriff’s Department, the two forces keep the roads safe and let visitors and locals enjoy what the region offers.
With the paradigm shift within the department, the officers now have the time and motivation to build community relationships. Bicycle patrols in several communities in Leland put the town’s officers in a very visible and approachable position. Bike patrols also serve as an early warning system, letting officers know about problems as they develop.
“I get so many calls a week complimenting our bicycle patrols,” says Jayne. “On more than one occasion, I’ve gotten a call from a Waterford resident who tells me, ‘Your officers helped me with this,’ or ‘I’m glad we see so many patrols on our street.’ When our officers are out there, approachable, friendly, willing and able to help and truly feel invested in the community — and the community in them — we have something great going.”
The Jaynes feel strongly about being part of a vibrant, friendly community and, as he puts it, “we found a great one here.” The Town of Leland, their neighbors and their church family — the Jaynes attend and are very active at St. James Episcopalian Church in Wilmington — are all part of that fabric.
When Jayne is not in the office and Shaun, Grace and Lucas aren’t at The Roger Bacon Academy or working with a church group, or volunteering at Good Shepherd Ministries’ kitchen, you’ll find them at their community pool, swimming, chatting and enjoying their neighbors. And if they’re not there, you can find them in someone’s back yard, playing games and having a cookout.
If you don’t find them in those places, here’s a spot to look: on the water. The Jaynes own a 22-foot Sea Ray that they put in on Sturgeon Creek and use to explore the rivers and Intracoastal Waterway.
“Since moving here I’ve become a boat person,” Jayne says. “I’m not so good a fisherman, but my son’s lucky; one of our neighbors has taken him under his wing and is teaching him to fish.”
Oh, and there’s one more place to look, two actually. On Sunday afternoons, and the occasional Sunday night or Monday night, you’ll find Jayne in front of his television wearing a black and gold Steelers jersey, rooting for who he calls “the greatest team in football.” On the rare occasion he’s not in front of the TV, check Heinz Field in Pittsburgh or check the Steelers’ road schedule, because he’s there watching it live.
“I love it. I love football and I love the Steelers. I have since I was ten,” he says.
His office shows it. Bobble head dolls, McFarlane Sports action figures of his favorite players, a pennant, mugs, a photo of him and Lucas in their jerseys and the piece de resistance — an autographed aerial photo of Heinz Field, the home field of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I’ve been lucky enough to go to two Superbowls: Superbowl 40 and Superbowl 43,” says Jayne. “At 43, I brought Lucas. It was a special moment to watch them win in the last second and share that with my son.”
And then there’s the time in Atlanta that Lucas had the opportunity to meet several players at a steakhouse, but that’s his story and you’ll have to ask him to tell it.
A smile, a friendly word and a handshake go a long way toward building a community, so the next time you see Chief Tim Jayne out in Leland, spend a minute with him and see for yourself how much he loves his town.