City of Gastonia Names Interim Police Chief

Trent Conard in police uniform

The City of Gastonia has named Assistant Police Chief Trent Conard as Interim Police Chief. He will begin his position on October 31. He will lead the daily operations of the Police Department (GPD) and its 200 employees. Conard will serve in this capacity while an extensive national search is underway to hire a new Police Chief, which became vacant with the retirement of former Police Chief Travis Brittain.

“Assistant Chief Conard is an essential member of the Police Department’s leadership. We are confident that he will maintain the continuity of operations for the safety of our residents and those visiting our City,” said City Manager Michael Peoples. “We also recognize how important it is to the community that the next Police Chief be adequately prepared to positively lead the department well into the future.”

Conard was promoted to Assistant Police Chief from Captain in October 2020. He joined the GPD in 1996 and brings 27 years of experience to this interim position. His service with the GPD includes being Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division, Commander of the Special Situations Unit which includes SWAT, Bomb Squad, Crisis Negotiators, Mobile Field Force, and the Mobile Command. He was responsible for creating and implementing the Police Training Officer training program for the GPD in 2005. Since the program was implemented, over 180 officers have been trained in the improved program. He received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Montreat College and is a North Carolina certified instructor and nationally certified Problem Based Learning instructor. Conard is a graduate of the West Point Leadership Program and also attended the FBI Command College.

An extensive search for the next Police Chief is underway and the comprehensive process is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023.