Rollinson named new Washington Chief of Police

Published 11:29 am Friday, April 21, 2023

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Phil Rollinson was named Washington’s new Chief of Police at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. 

Rollinson previously served as Investigations Captain for the Washington Police Department for three-and-a-half years. 

Prior to working in Washington, Rollison spent two-and-a-half years with Nags Head Police Department starting in 2000 then spent the following 17 years with the Greenville Police Department serving first as a patrol officer then in a gang unit and criminal intelligence before being promoted to Sergeant. He feels “well prepared” to be Washington’s new police chief given the amount of experience he’s obtained. 

“Really my time over there and training has prepared me to do the job over here supervising the investigative process,” Rollinson said. 

Rollinson said he is a little nervous about starting a new job. “I think you have to be somewhat nervous, because it’s a new adventure – even if you’ve been a chief before – if you switch agencies I think you’re going to be a little nervous.” 

He credits the “really good mentors” he’s had over the course of a 23-year career who have taught him and helped him be prepared to accept a job like Chief of Police. He shared that he is excited to start officially working as Chief of Police next week. 

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The Washington Police Department is having a busy year with introducing Rollinson as the new chief and opening their new facility in the near future. 

When talking about the police department, Rollinson said “we have a lot of good people working here, a lot of good officers. The [new] building is really nice. The city has done a great job designing and building that facility. It’ll last us for years to come.”  

Previous Chief of Police Stacy Drakeford will get to see the department’s future unfold in his continued role as Deputy City Manager. He will maintain oversight of Public Safety and community outreach initiatives, according to Washington City Manager Jonathan Russell. 

Though born in Norfolk, Virginia, Rollinson was raised on Hatteras Island much like his father and grandmother before him, according to an article published by the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association (NC PBA).  

Rollinson knew from a young age that he wanted to join law enforcement. In high school, he was a member of the Frisco Volunteer Fire Department and Hatteras Island Rescue Squad as well as riding alongside deputies from the Dare County Sheriff’s Department, according to the article from NC PBA. 

He chose to serve in Washington for its small town feel and charm, he said. For him, it was like returning to his roots and coming full circle serving in a small coastal town like Hatteras. 

In a hypothetical world where Rollinson would have a free Saturday to spend in Washington, he said he would spend it outdoors either walking along the waterfront, or biking or boating.