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Mocksville P.D. to follow recommendations

The independent assessment of the Mocksville Police Department is in, and there are plenty of recommendations from Developmental Associates to be implemented.

Town board members went behind closed doors to discuss the assessment last week, and came out with a unanimous vote for Town Manager Matt Settlemyer and Police Chief Pat Reagan to follow those recommendations.

The review was done by retired police chiefs Pat Bazemore and Tom Moss. They interviewed all officers and others in the community, compared staffing levels to all other similar size towns in North Carolina, and evaluated all department procedures and policies.

“Our department appreciates the feedback from Chief Basemore and Chief Moss and we believe their input will help our agency continue its progressive development and be better prepared for the future,” Reagan said.

“All of these recommendations are focused on improving the communication, efficiency and accountability for officers and staff at every level of the department,” Settlemyer said.

The report said that most of the problems in the department were created prior to Reagan being named chief. It mentioned internal communication problems, lack of training, factions trying to undermine the chief, too many supervisors compared to the number of patrol officers and some poor work ethics.

The report listed three items that need immediate attention.

• The department needs to let all officers know their duties, policies and procedures, and that complaints against officers need to be in writing.

• Investigations on potential employees need to be better, especially those who are coming from another law enforcement agencies.

• Two issues were uncovered that could be potentially criminal in nature, and an outside agency should conduct those investigations.

There were also recommendations for actions that should be done in 30 days, 60 days, six months and a year.

“There is a clear division in the department,” the report said. “There are some communication deficiencies in the MPD exacerbated by certain supervisors and commanders.”

Some officers have too few duties, while others have too many, it said. “The culture within the MPD was described by many as lacking cohesiveness.”

Mocksville has 4.15 officers per 1,000 residents, at the high end of a comparison with other towns.

“It appears that Mocksville has numerically sufficient sworn staff to effectively police the community. However, the number of commanders assigned to administrative functions makes fewer officers available to provide services to the community and repsond to calls for service.”

Mocksville has 31.82 percent of officers as command staff. The state average is 10.4 percent. It recommended that the current vacant assistant chief and captain positions be re-allocated as patrol officers, and as attrition occurs in command ranks, to re-allocate those positions as well.

“There is a weakness in effective supervision at the patrol shift level, especially during evening and nighttime hours. Senior oficers serve as supervisors and are not adequately trained for the responsibilities.”

All officers other than the three criminal investigators should wear full duty uniforms at all times and be prepared to answer calls.

It recommended that high-liability policies such as on the use of force, vehicle pursuits and emergency vehicle operations be re-vamped and taught to all officers.

The report said that department personnel said that discipline is inconsistent. Complaints against officers should be more easy for the public to make.