Attorney General names former police chief head of state’s education and training standards commission

Former Burlington police chief J. Jeffrey “Jeff” Smythe, who retired from that position in May, has been named as the director of the North Carolina Criminal Justice Standards Division.  The announcement was made Wednesday by Attorney General Josh Stein.

The Criminal Justice Standards Division is part of the North Carolina Department of Justice and carries out the work of the Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission.

The Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission adopts standards and topics for training and certification for all sworn police officers, correctional officers, probation/parole officers, juvenile justice officers, and juvenile court counselors in North Carolina, and reviews individual violations of the rules.

Smythe, who is originally from Philadelphia, came to Burlington from over 24 years at various stints in law enforcement in Arizona.  One of the state’s attractions was that his wife had family nearby.

In his February retirement letter to city manager Hardin Watkins, Smythe, 56, said it was “simply time for me to pursue other professional interests.”

He termed it “the pinnacle of my career” to have served as Burlington’s police chief.

Smythe had recently been appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice.  Smythe was also instrumental over the past few months prior to his retirement in the decision for Burlington to establish a Community Police Advisory Team.

Shortly before his final day as police chief, Smythe responded to a “Public Asks” question from The Alamance News about whether he was considering a political run for sheriff against incumbent Republican Terry Johnson, who is up for re-election in 2022.

At the time, Smythe acknowledged that he’s “keeping [his] options open” when he spoke with The Alamance News in May about his post-retirement plans – and specifically the chance that he may launch a campaign to become Alamance County’s next sheriff.

When asked directly about a potential bid for the sheriff’s seat, Smythe described the prospect as a “complex equation.”

In the interview with the newspaper, Smythe acknowledged that he has been an unaffiliated voter ever since he came to North Carolina in 2014, and he added that he “hasn’t drilled down that deeply” into which party he’d join if he decides to take a stab at electoral politics.

See earlier coverage of Burlington police chief Jeff Smythe’s retirement:

Retirement announcement:

Public Asks: is he planning run for sheriff?:

As he’s heading out the door, Smythe takes shot at sheriff for stealing his employees:

Sheriff’s deputies say they left BPD over dissatisfaction with leadership, policies; they even took pay cuts: