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Swansboro to merge head police and fire chief positions

By Alison Parker
Published On: May 20 2013 04:22:38 PM CDT
Updated On: May 20 2013 04:27:15 PM CDT
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Swansboro business leader Evelyn Moore is excited to see the head police chief and fire chief jobs become one position.

"I don't see that there would be a problem with it, with somebody who is qualified in both areas," Moore said.

Town Manager David Harvell says it's more efficient this way. He says one public safety manager will improve emergency response time and save the town money. But this change also allows two deputy chiefs to help with day-to-day tasks in the field.

"If someone in the town of Swansboro needs public safety -- police, fire -- I want all hands on deck to be there," Harvell said.

Harvell hopes to find an authentic leader for the public safety manager position -- someone who will inspire both police officers and firefighters to work together in the field.

Interim Fire Chief Arthur Taylor says having one leader will bring both departments closer together under one missions.

"It's more bringing us under the same roof -- working together, that close together," the interim fire chief said. "We do it kind of now, but it would just give us more opportunity."

Interim Police Chief Dwayne Taylor says an administrative manager will cut back on paperwork he has to do.

"They'll take care of those aspects that kind of tie me down to the office, where I can't get out of the office as much, to make sure the guys are doing what they're supposed to be doing," the interim police chief said.

Resident Deanna Scroggs says the change is convenient, since Swansboro has been without head police and fire chiefs for several weeks.

"It just makes sense," Scroggs said. "This is a perfect time to do it -- smart thing for the town to do."

Harvell says town officials will vote on a new budget including this new position in June. He hopes to fill the position within four to six weeks of the vote.