Selecting New Police Chief

By / Letters to the Editor / Wednesday, 12 August 2015 04:00

Michael, Mayor & Council:
As I read the editorial in this weeks edition of the Island Gazette, It strikes me that we have an ongoing deficiently in our form of local government that needs to be addressed. As an involved and concerned Carolina Beach citizen, I believe that with a community as small as ours, our town government needs to be as representative and protective of the citizen’s interest as possible. Seeing so many Town Managers, Police Chiefs and Fire Chiefs enter and exit our town in the 12 years I have lived here is not in our best interest.
When we elect a Mayor and four council members to represent us, it seems to me they should have some say in who is hired and fired when it comes to key employment positions, especially public safety positions. Whether you are Mayor, Council Member, Town Manager, Police Chief or Fire Chief, you are a public servant and you have a responsibility and duty to the people of the community to establish town protocols that are most likely to result in the overall best outcome for the community at large. So, I find it troubling that any one person not elected by the citizens would have sole say so on a position as important as Police Chief, especially a person relatively new on the job, who still has a lot to learn about our community, our history and how we function.
I realize our form of government dictates that the Police Chief reports directly to the Town Manager, but that should not mean the Manager is sole arbiter of these important decisions that affect us all.
After all, isn’t that the process we just used to hire a police chief, only to have to fire him a short time later? That police chief was hired by our current Manager who had been on the job for only a few weeks, and clearly before he knew anything about our town.
The Police Chief works for us, and the Town Council members are elected to represent us, so regardless of who the Police Chief reports to, in the interest of a more effective and successful process, why would our Town Manager not willingly invite our Council members into the process to insure we get the most thoughtful and representative outcome possible?
It frustrates me that one person plans to decide who will best represent our town in the capacity of Police Chief. I personally want the people who were voted into office by the citizens to play a major role in determining who our next Chief will be. Why keep repeating the same mistakes of the past?
I am also of the opinion that we should always look from within our departments to fill these positions before considering outside applications. 
If we have qualified individuals, why would we bring someone in from out of town that does not know anything about our town?
It would benefit us to seek individuals who are not only qualified, but individuals who understand our community and are already dedicated to us.  
Respectfully,
Deb LeCompte
Carolina Beach Resident

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