GARLAND — After making a decision to end a partnership with the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement protection, many residents were concerned about not having deputies in town. But on the first day of the 2016-17 budget year, Garland commissioners did not waste time taking steps to start a department.
During a special meeting on Friday, the board approved spending $10,995 for the purchase of a 2010 Dodge Charger and to begin an official search for a police chief. The vehicle has 65,000 miles and is fully equipped with everything except a radio and a computer.
“It’s a nice looking car,” Commissioner S.J. Smith said about the vehicle to be purchased from Copcarsonline, a company based out of Largo, Fla.
Commissioner Ralph Smith conducted research and made the proposal to commissioners. He said it’s a cheaper alternative for the town and already has police markings on it.
“Plus, it’s already got all the decals on it,” Ralph Smith said while talking about adding Garland decals in the future.
He said Copcarsonline has been in business for 20 years and is in the business of putting vehicles no longer in use back on the market. Since the vehicle is located in Florida, it has to be hauled to town. The other option is to have Ralph Smith fly to Florida and drive the car back. The board voted to go with the most cost-effective choice.
Also, commissioners approved to advertise for the chief position through local media publications and to accept applications. Commissioners said they would like to have interviews during their next board meeting, scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. July 12. Ralph Smith discussed the importance of having local candidates.
“The more local we can keep somebody and the closer they live to the town of Garland, the better off we’ll be,” he said.
The advertisement has been posted on the town’s Facebook page.
“We got a couple of applications already,” S.J. Smith said.
According to the advertisement, the town of more than 600 people is “seeking a progressive, proactive law enforcement professional with a proven record of leadership to serve as its next Police Chief.” The candidate will help town officials build a police department and it also states that applicants should have a degree in criminal justice, law enforcement, public administration and five years of progressive law enforcement experience. The salary was listed as negotiable.
During a June meeting, commissioners voted to re-establish a police department in town after the Sheriff’s Office offered its service at $113,000. Commissioners felt that amount, which included an increase of more than $25,000, was too high.
To pay for the vehicle costs, a budget amendment was made for general fund expenditures to increase supplies and equipment for law enforcement by $14,000.
Following a public hearing an budget meeting, Garland commissioners approved more than $800,000 for town operations.
“This is our first day for the 2016-2017 fiscal year and we’re looking forward to the many challenges that we have in front of us,” said Mayor Winifred Murphy.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.