Chief of Police William H. Penn, Jr.



Chief William H. Penn, Jr. is a 25-year veteran of the Winston-Salem Police Department. He is a proud Winston-Salem native, having grown up on the city’s east side. 

Professional Career

Chief Penn began his career with the Winston-Salem Police Department in 1997. He was promoted to Corporal in 2005, Sergeant in 2009, Lieutenant in 2014, Captain in 2017, Assistant Chief in 2019, and was appointed Chief of Police in January 2023. 

Chief Penn has served in the Patrol Division, Foot Patrol, Vice and Narcotics, Crime Prevention, Recruiting Unit, and as Division Commander of District One. He also served as the Bureau Commander for the Support Services Bureau. Most recently, Chief Penn served as Bureau Commander of the Investigative Services Bureau.

In 2006, he was recognized by Ashley Elementary School as Volunteer of the Year for his work in the school.  Chief Penn is an Assistant Scoutmaster with the Old Hickory Council Boy Scout Troop 912.  He serves as a mentor at his former high school Carver High School in Winston-Salem, NC. In August 2019, he was recognized by the HBCU Living Legends Board as one of Winston-Salem State University’s very own Living Legends. Chief Penn has served on the Liberty Street CDC Board and the HBCU Living Legends Board.  He currently serves on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity and Experience in Self Reliance. 


Chief Penn is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and earned his Master of Business Administration from Winston-Salem State University.  He is a graduate of the Administrative Officers Management Program at NC State University, the Piedmont Leadership Academy in Greensboro, NC where he now instructs and has earned the trilogy award from the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association. Chief Penn is a certified General Instructor through the North Carolina Justice Academy. 


Chief Penn has one son. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, listening to jazz music, and cycling.