KNIGHTDALE, NC – Town Manager Bill Summers recognized Officer Zoe Cruz as the 2021 Employee of the Year during the Town Council meeting on December 15, 2021.  The annual award is designed to recognize excellence in public service to the citizens of Knightdale.

Officer Cruz is in her first year of employment with Knightdale having previously served with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.  An emotional Mr. Summers summarized the lasting impacts of the tragic loss of Officer Ryan Hayworth on October 17, 2021.  The sense of loss stemming from the line of duty death on the community and town staff has been profound, but he noted that the healing process is underway.

 In the immediacy after the accident, Officer Cruz was assigned to support the Hayworth family.  According to Mr. Summers, Zoe committed her professional life, while suspending her personal life, to live with the Hayworth’s during the initial stages of mourning.  She comforted the family as they grappled with emotions of losing a child, remaining steadfast by their side.  He further noted that her professionalism, compassion, and decency were inspirational, and all serve as reminders of the importance of public service.

 Police Chief Lawrence Capps offered his perspective and gratitude for Officer Cruz as well.  He noted his familiarity with her character prior to her employment with the Town.  Chief Capps expressed his appreciation for her service to the Hayworth’s, noting that she had in fact become an extended family member.  Finally, Mayor Jessica Day thanked Officer Cruz and expressed her pride in the Knightdale Police Department.  She reminded those in attendance that Zoe is a strong example of the caliber of professionals employed by the Town across all areas of service. 

The Town of Knightdale also recognized the 6 employees that celebrated years of service milestones in 2021.  Staff are awarded service plaques on each 5-year anniversary.  Assistant Town Manager Dustin Tripp noted that the plaques serve as a reminder of an employee’s dedication to the citizens of Knightdale.


Employee Name and TitleYears of Service
Larry Johnson, Assistant Public Works Director25
Police Chief Lawrence Capps10
Jason Eubanks, Grounds Maintenance Supervisor (Public Works)10
Police Sergeant Kevin Jorgenson10
Kim Kenny, Assistant Finance Director5
Corey Holland, Operations Supervisor (Public Works)5