The Heart of Kernersville

By NJ Clausen

Greetings to all! Although growing, Kernersville is considered to be a safe, friendly town. This month I have the pleasure of introducing you to a man who, along with all the others in the department, keep Kernersville a good place to call home, our Chief of Police, Jason Tilley.

Born in Forsyth County, Jason was the middle child of three, with an older and younger sister. As a young boy, Jason loved to be outdoors, he and his father would go hunting and were avid fishermen. In school, Jason always liked math class and learning how to get to the answer. He still enjoys doing math in his head! Jason always loved the physical education and fitness classes and continues to work out 4-5 times per week. He also played baseball, advancing from the minors to the majors on the Little League team. When he was around 11 years old, Jason started caring for and feeding 20 beagles while his neighbor was at work. He did this job for years, which enabled him to pay for his first vehicle. At 16, Jason started working at Winn-Dixie, working as a bagger of groceries. One night, they were short-handed and asked him to stay and help stock. So much was done that night, they immediately moved him to stocking shelves and soon had Jason taking classes for a manager in training. When he was 17, Jason was ‘Temporary Manager for a Day.’ He feels that this job helped him establish the structure, responsibilities, and deadlines that prepared him for life and his career.

After high school Jason started working for Penn Engineering and Manufacturing in Winston-Salem, where he was employed for 12 years. He started as a machine operator and ended his time there as a team leader. Some of the friends Jason worked out with were in law enforcement and they took him for a couple of ride-alongs, starting a fire in Jason that he did not even know was there. He then applied and was accepted into the Winston-Salem Police Department. To become a sworn officer, the candidate must attend Basic Law Enforcement Training, also referred to as “Rookie School.” The multi-month program includes a great deal of information in a short amount of time, with new sections covered every day. Following successful completion of this training, the North Carolina state exam must be completed and passed. In 2003, Jason became a Police Officer for Winston-Salem.

Jason chuckled as he related how he came to the Kernersville Police Department. He was working out at the YMCA, and the captain at the time approached Jason and started to recruit him for Kernersville. Jason was not looking to leave the Winston-Salem PD as he had friends and enjoyed being there, but the captain kept working on him. After praying on the offer and discussing it with his dad, he applied to the Kernersville department. The process went quickly, and in 2004 Jason was hired to the department in Kernersville, the place he realized he was meant to be. Jason held several leadership roles in the department after acquiring his associate degree from the American Military University, gaining knowledge in different aspects with each position. When he was Lieutenant over the Criminal Investigation Division and Internal Affairs, Jason described how the time there opened his eyes to the bigger picture; to be fair and unbiased, acknowledging that all are human, that no one is perfect, and always striving to help the department improve and become better. Jason states that the department is here for the citizens, and that is why the department gets the support that it does from the community.

In 2016, Jason and his wife Greta moved to Kernersville. He shared how much they love the community, and how it is supportive in so many ways. When asked how to help keep our community safe, he cautioned to be careful about what they are seeing on social media, and to call the station if you have a question. You could also visit them on Facebook. Jason spoke next about the trend of auto break-ins happening in many communities. If you are a firearm owner, DO NOT keep your firearm in your vehicle. When at home, lock the doors and do not leave valuables within sight. When out in the community, be aware of your surroundings, look around and make eye contact with people. If something does not look right, call the station and let the police investigate– that is how we can protect each other.

Jason enjoys working with the officers and getting new thoughts and suggestions on how to better serve the community. He loves the town and the officials who support the department so much. He is grateful to his parents for raising him right, to his wife for her understanding and support, the blessing of their daughter, for his friends who continue to help him on this journey, and for the community and their support. Jason is especially grateful to our Lord Jesus Christ for everything.

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