Last week, the Town Council said it wanted to move forward with finding a permanent replacement for Chief Larke Plyler, who retired June 30.
Earlier this month, Mayor Lynda Paxton suggested eliminating the Police Department and instead relying on the Union County Sheriff’s Department as a money-saving measure.
Business owner Charlotte Harkey said Tuesday that she thinks the latest move is a sign the Police Department may not be eliminated.
“I’m hoping in the back of their mind they think they’re wrong by wanting to disband it,” she said.
The council said it was preparing for all possibilities, including keeping the department, as the department’s future has not been decided.
Paxton’s proposal was meant to cut down on the $3 million the town currently spends on its own police force. In that same vein, the council voted to not reimburse candidates for travel expenses.
“That’s something I might ask council to reconsider,” said Councilman Paul Frost, who was one of two who wanted to pay for out-of-state candidates’ travel expenses.
Frost said paying such expenses, which range up to $700 per candidate, would help attract the best people possible.
“We ought to look at the good, strong internal candidates that we have, but also look at talent in other areas,” he said.
Of the 84 people who have applied for the position, only 11 are being considered. Three are from as far away as New Mexico and Pennsylvania.
Business owner Peggy Luciano said she thinks Frost has a valid point.
“I think they have to pay some travel expenses to be able to interview that person who may be the appropriate person,” she said.
Still, she and others told Channel 9 that they felt council was doing the right thing by keeping the Police Department’s future open.
A new police chief could be offered the job by October, but the future of the department might not be decided until early next year. The Town Council is in the process of assembling a survey to gauge the community’s feelings on town services, including the Police Department. However, that will not be distributed until January at the earliest.
Channel 9 reached out to Paxton and several other council members, including one who voted against continuing the search because of the department’s uncertain future, but none were available for an interview on Tuesday.
Source: WSOCTV Channel 9
Category: Search News