Hamlet names interim police chief

 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

HAMLET — Acting City Manager Tammy Kirkley on Wednesday appointed Hamlet Police Capt. Rodney Tucker to the position of interim chief in the wake of current Chief Amery Griffin’s retirement announcement.

Kirkley made the announcement at the start of the city’s public budget work session.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Hamlet Police Capt. Rodney Tucker has been named interim chief, effective May 30.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Hamlet Police Capt. Rodney Tucker has been named interim chief, effective May 30.

Griffin told The Pee Dee Post on May 12 that he will retire at the end of the month after more than 28 years with the Hamlet Police Department. The city has launched a search for its next permanent chief but Tucker, 44, will fill the position for the time being.

“I’d like to thank everybody for the opportunity to serve Hamlet in another capacity,” said Tucker, who said he has applied for the position full-time and currently oversees the investigations unit.

Tucker’s appointment is effective May 30.

Prior to joining the Hamlet police force in early 2013, Tucker spent four years with the Laurinburg Police Department and nearly 12 years with the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office.

Tucker has his work cut out for him. Shortly after the budget talk concluded, Councilman Jesse McQueen brought up a city policy that hasn’t been followed for approximately two years. The result? City police officers identified, trained and certified as K-9 handlers have not been compensated for time spent off-duty caring for their canine charges.

McQueen said these officers should either be paid or given comp time in lieu of cash payment. The problem with the latter solution, said Edna Cumberland, is that officers are permitted to carry up to 120 hours of comp time and no more. Griffin said many officers current are near or at that limit, which eliminates comp time as a possible solution to the problem.

“I think we need to fix that and fix it today,” McQueen said. “From today, back to 2012, they’re owed what the policy says they’re owed.”

Mayor Bill Bayless said the city wouldn’t have the money to pay the officers two years’ worth of monies outright. The amount of such a payout for the past two years wasn’t immediately available.

Councilman Pat Preslar didn’t disagree with McQueen but asked if the K-9 units had been deployed on a regular basis and if their use, in training and in the field, could be documented.

“Are they doing reports each time,” Preslar inquired. “I want to see training logs. They should be maintaining both.”

Griffin said he hadn’t signed off on any training logs or K-9-specific reports and said Tucker had been supervisor of that unit since coming on board 16 months ago. Tucker also said he had not ever seen a report. Griffin suggested the reports are usually handwritten and are likely in the officers’ cabinets.

Preslar wanted them as soon as the city’s June 10 public meeting. After the meeting, however, Preslar told Tucker it’d be alright if the reports were made available by the August public meeting.

 

 

 

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