Carthage Adds Seven Officers to Police Force
Carthage has new cops on the beat - seven of them.
Police Chief Bart Davis introduced his new hires to the Town Board at a recent meeting, and - following longstanding town traditions - they each "made the rounds" to shake hands with the commissioners.
All seven lined up as their chief introduced them individually. Until now, the department had been short-handed, but with these additions, Davis said his force is fully staffed. In addition to its regular full- time police officers, Carthage also has a number of auxiliary police officers it can call upon.
To become a law enforcement officer in North Carolina, a candidate must complete an extensive course of study that includes knowledge of the law, police procedure, court rules, evidence collection techniques, hand-to-hand combat, firearms training and extensive physical conditioning.
Once this Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) is completed, a graduate has one year in which to find a job and be sworn in. Sandhills Community College offers BLET, as do other nearby schools. Some of the new Carthage officers are recent BLET graduates, though most have had prior experience.
"First officer I'd like to introduce is Wes Coleman," Davis said. "Wes is from Chatham County. He's a BLET graduate from Randolph Community College. He comes to us with four years' experience from the Chatham County Sheriff's Office."
Robert Clark was next, an SCC BLET graduate with experience in the Lumberton and Hamlet police departments.
Jacob Lesley graduated from the BLET program at Sandhills, but he also earned an associate degree in criminal justice at Fayetteville Tech, the chief said
The next officer to make the rounds had even more extensive experience.
"Heath McKenzie is also a graduate of Sandhills Community College," Davis said. "He's got 15 years' experience at Whispering Pines, Vass, Moore County Alcoholic Beverage Control, Moore County Sheriff's Office - and he also has police instructor certification."
McKenzie was followed by another SCC graduate, Josh Gibson. He had experience with the county EMS before entering BLET at Sandhills and completing his training.
Officer Steve Martin was next, coming to Carthage from the Siler City Police Department. Martin has his bachelor's degree in criminal justice and five years' experience as a city police officer. He completed his BLET at Randolph Commu-nity College.
As they greeted their new officers in turn, board members took a moment with each one to welcome them to Carthage and assure them of the board's support and appreciation.
Davis introduced the last officer, Ken Shaw.
"Ken Shaw is from Moore County," Davis said, introducing the last - and most experienced - of the town's new policemen. "He is a graduate of Fayette-ville Tech Police Academy. He has 16 years of experience in the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office - he actually started full time with the Carthage PD many years ago as canine officer, and also has experience with Southern Pines PD and the Moore County Sheriff's Office."
The board and other meeting attendees welcomed the officers with applause.
At the end of the meeting, a number of commissioners praised Davis for bringing his department to full staff and for the quality of their service.
"I know you've worked hard hiring people," said Commissioner Catherine Graham. "Congratulations on a full department."
One member of the board had recently witnessed Carthage officers in action.
"Last month I was shopping at Food Lion and - as I was coming out - there was a homeless woman sitting on the sidewalk who was quite loud and belligerent," Pat Motz-Frazier said, speaking to the chief.
"Two of your officers had come up. I have to tell you I was so impressed with how they handled that woman. They were respectful to her; they were really calm with her.
"They got her calmed down. I was just really impressed with how they handled that situation, and I wanted to let you know that."
Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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