It’s been 20 years since the Kure Beach Police Department has changed its lead command. But on Friday, Chief Michael P. Bowden was officially sworn in to his new role on the force.
Bowden, a 16-year veteran with the Kure Beach Police Department, was named the new chief of police during a change of command ceremony held at the town hall Friday morning. The new chief was joined by several local leaders and town members, along with his wife, son and mother.
Former Police Chief Dennis Cooper, who served the department for two decades, announced his retirement during a Kure Beach Town Council meeting on Tuesday, June 21. He was hired on the force as a patrol officer in 1992 and was promoted to police chief four years later. The town made the decision to promote Bowden to police chief just after Cooper’s retirement announcement.
“It was a no brainer. It was the right thing to do,” Cooper said about Bowden’s promotion to police chief.
Cooper said all of Bowden’s promotions over the last 16 years have been a natural progression, due to his hard work and dedication to the Kure Beach police force and community.
“Mike is trusted by each and every member of this department. And I assure you that every member of this department has full confidence and knowledge that he will be an incredible leader,” Cooper said during his speech at the ceremony.
Following the former chief’s speech, Chief Magistrate Samuel Long Jr. led the oath ceremony, which made official Bowden’s appointment to lead the force. Cooper then presented his badge to Bowden, an exchange between the two chiefs that touched the audience.
“Mike, I am so proud of you to take this on,” Cooper said. “I know you will continue to strive for excellence.”
Bowden took the podium Friday and thanked his family and the town for joining him in the moment.
“I know I have some big shoes to fill…and my goal is to maintain the same level of service that we’ve always had here, and while supporting the best group of officers that anybody could ever ask for,” Bowden said.
Kure Beach Mayor Emilie Swearingen made also note of the dedication Cooper has had to the police force over the years.
“Dennis served Kure Beach as chief of police in an exemplary manner for 20 years…he is a much-loved person in this town and is noted for his fairness, honor and integrity. He is a role model for many of our town employees and has developed the town’s police force into a well-respected presence,” Swearingen said.