Wayne County is helping equip Richmond Community Schools’ new police department.

Commissioners voted 3-0 July 26 to sell RCS four police vehicles and three protective vests for $20,000. Superintendent Curtis Wright and board member Peter Zaleski attended the meeting to make the RCS request for “those things that are essential to make sure that our faculty, staff and students in those buildings are well-protected and served,” Wright said

He added that development of the department has progressed well and with the county’s equipment help, the district is in position to “not miss a beat” regarding safety when the new school year begins Aug. 7. Other necessary equipment is scheduled for delivery before school starts.

Later July 26, the RCS Board of School Trustees unanimously voted to accept the county’s equipment at the agreed price. 

The five vehicles are a 2013 Dodge Charger with about 93,000 miles, a 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe with more than 119,000 miles, a 2014 Tahoe with more than 128,000 miles and a 2016 Charger with more than 103,000 miles. All equipment, save county-owned radios and computers, will remain in the vehicles.

The three School Resource Officers affiliated with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office last school year have all been hired by RCS to continue in their positions. Their protective vests are customized to fit the individual officers.

RCS has received applications for a fourth resource officer position, Zaleski said. A fifth could eventually be hired, as well.

Zaleski added that RCS is diligently working to develop police department policies, saying 90% is boilerplate policy but another 10% is specific to RCS’ department.

Overall, Wright said RCS has received tremendous support, including from the sheriff’s department and Richmond Police Department, so that “our parents’ most prized possession, their children, are well looked after and that there will not be any inconsistencies or any setbacks with the safety and security services that we continue to provide at a high quality.”

Project tour

To conclude their meeting, commissioners took a tour of the Wayne County Administration Building and courthouse grounds.

They discussed upcoming projects to replace cracked sidewalks, repair and replace bricks, redesign the courthouse’s main entryway and repair weathered frames for courthouse doors no longer used. The courthouse’s main entryway is not Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.

Grant funding

Tim Pierson, the executive director of Drug Free Wayne County Partnership, presented the organization’s grant funding plan.

It had $54,141 to distribute to organizations in three categories: law enforcement and justice; prevention and education; and recovery, treatment and intervention. Applicants requested a total of about $160,000, Pierson said, but the group whittled the requests down to spend the entire $54,141.

Commissioners unanimously approved the funding disbursements.

Subdivision ordinance

No members of the public spoke during a public hearing on an amendment to the county’s subdivision drainage ordinance.

The amendment puts responsibility on developers, rather than the county, for a certificate of financial responsibility regarding drainage. Commissioners approved the amendment 3-0.

New trailer

Mike Sharp, the county’s highway superintendent, received permission to purchase a new trailer to haul equipment.

The in-stock trailer costs $56,480 at Kaufman Trailers in North Carolina. It provides safer loading than the current 30-year-old trailer, Sharp said.

A truck tractor, which was also in the 2023 purchase plan, will be delayed until 2024.

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A version of this article appeared in the August 2 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.