‘Policing is kind of cerebral now’

By on August 16, 2023

Michael Palkovics discusses his new role as Kitty Hawk Police Chief

Kitty Hawk Police Chief Michael Palkovics.

After 30 years of experience working for the Henrico County, VA Police Department, Kitty Hawk’s new Police Chief Michael Palkovics knows what his first task is on the Outer Banks.

“My first priority is to learn as much as I can about the department—their current policies and practices, learn about the community and find out what it is the community wants and expects,” he said. “It’s a steep learning curve.”

Palkovics was announced as the Kitty Hawk’s new Chief of Police on June 30, succeeding retiring Chief Joel Johnson, who had served in that post for more than a decade. Not long after, on Aug. 7, he held a public meet-and-greet with Kitty Hawk residents, an event that left him impressed with how they feel about their town.

“One of the things that I have really noticed is the people that live here are very well informed, and they’re very invested in the community and I don’t mean financially,” he said. “They are invested in the interests of the town and making sure that it [is] representative what they feel the town should be.”

He retired from the Henrico County Police Department as Lieutenant Colonel Michael Palkovics, Assistant Chief of Police, Support Operations, a job that he describes as “24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

“I retired to take this job,” he told the Voice. “I was looking for a little bit different pace…And the opportunity came up…My wife and I have been coming down here for years…I talked to her about it, got her feelings and…she was very supportive of the change.”

The Henrico County Police Department, which includes the city of Richmond, has, according to Palkovics, almost 700 police officers and around 250 support employees “Just my command was probably 250 people,” he said.

That’s far different than the town of Kitty Hawk, with 16 police department employees and two vacant positions. For Palkovics, it’s forcing him out of the office and back to his roots in policing.

“It’s different work,” he said. “It’s not putting out fires 24 hours. This is getting back for me to what policing was when I first started. The real true sense of community policing, getting to know the people in the area and trying to do things that makes an impact or positively impact the people that live and work in the area on a much smaller scale instead of massive, huge projects.”

Palkovics also stressed the vital role the community plays in public safety.

“A police officer has two sets of eyes, two hands and two legs. And you can only do so much,” he said. “The community are the ones that make the impact. Because they’re the voice. They’re the knowledge. They’re the eyes. They’re what’s going on. So it is forging that partnership and working with the community together to make an area safe.”

The new chief also lauds the officers he now leads in Kitty Hawk. “The people that we have here, the men and women and it’s a young department, have a tremendous amount of pride in what they’re doing. And I’ve been very impressed with the team concept, which is huge,” Palkovics said, citing in particular Lt. James Helms, who served as Interim Chief after Johnson retired.

“Not only was he doing a great job serving as the interim chief, from the day that I accepted the position, he has been working with me on everything, and really becoming a friend,” he said.

One new aspect of Palkovics’ job will be the new Kitty Hawk Police Station, where ground was broken last fall, and which is currently under construction next to the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Welcome Center. The new station will replace the old building on West Kitty Hawk Road, which has been plagued by flooding problems.

“Everybody that crosses the bridge, everybody going south is going to drive right by it. It’s just going be a building that the whole town can get behind and feel really represents them,” he said. “There will be a top-tier premier police department working out of it.”

Having come from an accredited law enforcement agency at the Henrico Police Department, Palkovics talks about the goal getting accreditation for the Kitty Hawk force—a voluntary process in which the agencies adopt standards and practices, one that involves an independent review by the accrediting agency.

“What that means is that you have put policies and practices in place that somebody else from the outside is coming in and looking at and saying you are following the best practices for law enforcement, which builds credibility. But it also builds a good foundation for the men and women working there,” Palkovics said.

“Agencies that are not accredited, it doesn’t mean they’re not doing [things right],” he added. “They just haven’t been exposed to the accreditation.” There is a North Carolina Law Enforcement Accreditation operated through the attorney general’s office, and “I think that’s something down the road to look at, is how can we move in that direction,” he noted.

The chief also said he will be emphasizing ongoing training.

“Every agency that you can think of that you would say is successful, I can guarantee you has a very robust training program,” he said. “These are perishable skills. You have to keep practicing them, especially in a smaller community where you don’t have the opportunity to use them as much.”

Speaking from his 30 years of experience, Palkovics suggests that one of the most important parts of good police work these days is thinking about how to do the job more effectively.

“Policing is…kind of cerebral now,” he observed. “You have to look at things from many different angles, to make sure that you really are doing what is right. It takes a lot of introspection.”



Barnhill Contracting Company will receive sealed proposals for Manns Harbor – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-8), Kitty Hawk – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-9), Manteo – Youth Center on January 09, 2024. Times to be given on via addendum #01. See the following SCOPE OF WORK: BP 100 – General Trades, BP 105 – Final Cleaning, BP 205 – Demolition, BP 390 – Turnkey Concrete, BP 400 – Turnkey Masonry, BP 500 – Turnkey Structural Steel & Misc. Steel, BP 505 – Light Gauge Metal Trusses, BP 740 – Roofing, BP750 – Siding, BP 790 – Caulking/Sealants, BP 800 – Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware/Toilet Specialties/Accessories/Division 10, BP 840 – Curtainwall/Storefront/Glass/Glazing, BP 925 – Drywall/Framing, BP 960 – Resilient Flooring/Carpet/Base/Epoxy, BP 980 – Acoustical Ceilings, BP 990 – Painting and Wall Coverings, BP 1230 – Finish Carpentry and Casework, BP 1250 – Window Treatments, BP 2100 – Fire Protection, BP 2200 – Plumbing, BP 2300 – HVAC, BP 2600 – Electrical, BP 3100 – Earthwork/Turnkey Site, BP 3213- Site Concrete, BP 3290 – Landscaping. Scopes of work may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager.

Bid Location and Time: Bid opening will be held in the Barnhill Contracting Rocky Mount Training & GPS Technology Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Time is as follows: January 09, 2024 at 10:00am and 2:00pm. Times per packages to be given on via addendum #01.

Barnhill Contracting Company will receive, open, and read publicly all bids received in person in the Training & GPS Technology Room at the main office and listed with the virtual viewing at the link to be posted on Barnhill’s Plan Room.

Bids will not be accepted from bidders that are not pre-qualified. No facsimile or email submissions are permitted. Sealed bids are to be hand delivered to the bid opening location noted above or mailed Sealed Bids can be delivered before 9:00am the day of the bid to the Barnhill Contracting Company Office at 800 Tiffany Blvd., Suite 200 Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Attention “Clint Hardison.”

The pre-bid meeting will be held in Person & Zoom Meeting on December 06, 2023 at 10:00 am at the Barnhill Contracting’s Rocky Mount Main Conference Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.

The pre-bid meeting link can be located on Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b) and below. A preferred brand alternates meeting will be held via the same link at the end of the Prebid meeting.

Bid Documents can be viewed or downloaded through Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room (https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b) after 12/04/2023.

All Bidders are strongly encouraged to include opportunities for HUB participation wherever possible in their respective Bid submission.  HUB participation is a part of this contract and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Bid Documents.

The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to add pre-qualified bidders. The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to reject any and all bids. Should you require additional direction, please call Barnhill Contracting Company, (Clint Hardison – 252-802-0740).

Clint Hardison is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Dare EMS – Phase 2 Pre-Bid Conference

Time: Dec 6, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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  • Dethrol

    Welcome to Kitty Hawk and the fabulous Outer Banks, Chief Palkovics. Best of luck and continued success to you, your officers, and the entire KHPD family.

    Wednesday, Aug 16 @ 10:38 pm
  • surf123

    Absolutely nothing against the new chief, but why have counties and towns suckered themselves into bringing in outsiders for these jobs? They bring nothing to the table that people who are already on the force can and they roll in with zero knowledge of the area they are policing. Also degrading to the staff who hope to move up with the force. Policing is not complicated and has not changed since police stopped walking the beat. Drive around in a car looking for trouble, set up speed and DUI traps, bring in the dogs at traffic stops to sniff for drugs, harass citizens for petty stuff, and realize you are wasting your time when the DA will not back you up with substantial bond amounts for drug and other crimes.

    Thursday, Aug 17 @ 11:03 am
  • Dale S.

    Just so you know. Henrico Cty. PD does not include the City of Richmond. Richmond has it’s own PD.

    Thursday, Aug 17 @ 3:37 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    You’re correct Dale and we’ll fix the language in the story.

    Thursday, Aug 17 @ 6:48 pm
  • Dan

    Surf123 has a good point. Today, “progressive” chiefs tout “community policing” as if it is some kind of novel tactic. It was called “walking a beat.” Police work is usually called “complicated” by people who have been infused–perhaps “indoctrinated” is the word–with the nebulous moral relativity of leftism, the mantra of “we need to counsel the perp.” “Complicated policing” is what got the Middletown, CT officer into the near-death confrontation in which she found herself.

    Friday, Aug 18 @ 7:50 am