The Robbins Board of Commissioners is taking steps to stabilize the town’s police force, which is entering its second month under the leadership of Chief Lawson Thomas.
During the board’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, the commissioners unanimously voted to approve a resolution allowing David Lambert, the town manager, to buy a new police vehicle. Lambert said the vehicle will replace a 2012 Dodge Charger that was “totaled” last year in a traffic accident.
“Since then, we’ve just been working with the vehicles that we have in place,” Lambert said, adding that the town received nearly $7,000 in insurance proceeds from the accident. “We plan to replace the vehicle so we can get our fleet back to where it needs to be and avoid increasing the maintenance and issues associated with sharing vehicles.”
The new vehicle, a Dodge Ram designed specifically for law enforcement use, will cost about $32,740. It will be the only truck in the police department’s fleet.
“(Having a truck) would offer a little bit more versatility and will allow us to pursue different types of investigations, as well,” Lambert said.
In a written recommendation to the commissioners, Thomas said the truck will be “extremely beneficial” for the town.
“The truck would allow the police department to haul items to and from crime scenes such as bulk evidence,” Thomas wrote. “Another vital capability would be the ability to use the vehicle as a medical evacuation vehicle in the case of an officer and/or victim being injured.”
Lambert said the truck will be financed through a five-year arrangement with First Bank.
Also on Thursday, the commissioners voted to adopt a reimbursement contract for newly hired police officers.
Under the agreement, the town will pay for “tuition fees, uniforms, equipment, books and other course-related charges related to the employee taking and completing the (Basic Law Enforcement Training) course.” But officers who leave the Robbins Police Department after less than a year of employment will be required to repay the town for all employment-related expenses.
Officers who resign after less than two years on the job must pay 75 percent of their hiring costs, while employees who leave after less than three years will be expected to pay half the costs. Lambert said reimbursements could be deducted from the departing officer’s final paycheck.
The agreement was suggested by Thomas, who was named chief of the Robbins Police Department in August. He previously worked with the Pinehurst Police Department and with the State Bureau of Investigation.
Thomas replaced former Robbins Police Chief Rob Tew, who announced his resignation in June.
In other business on Thursday, the commissioners:
• Appointed Hannah Hungerford, the town clerk, to serve as Robbins’ FEMA liaison following the departure of Lambert, who resigned in May before signing a two-month contract last month to serve as interim manager.
• At the recommendation of Commissioner Joey Boswell, directed Lambert to begin work to establish a committee to address the need for additional parking in downtown Robbins.