Unpaid bills problem for new sheriff administration

Published 5:17 pm Monday, January 26, 2009

&dquo;I&squo;m having to resolve the issues and take care of the bills,&dquo; Hill said this week.

Hill has restructured the office in many ways, including moving his office back upstairs just last week. He&squo;s restriped some vehicles, split his deputies into zones throughout the county and made office space for the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and an office for animal control. &bsp;

Hill is also currently working on completing an inventory of the entire department and arranging needed training for his officers. Hill did not have a trained road officer to administer intoxilizer tests, so training is being done for those qualifications.

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Commissioners on Monday approved spending $14,350 for a 2010 Ford Fusion for duties such as serving civil documents and bailiff duties in order to save on fuel. The Fusion is almost $10,000 cheaper than a road officer&squo;s Ford Crown Victoria and will get at least 10 miles more per gallon.

Capt. Chadd Murray

Hill hired Capt. Chadd Murray this week to be the sheriff&39;s office&39;s director of patrols. Previously, Det. Tracy Aldridge was both the head of detectives and the head of patrol. Capt. Murray said he has already begun to work on inventory that hasn&squo;t been done in two years. He says his biggest priority is to address road officers&squo; professionalism as the previous administration let that aspect slide. Murray says he is getting his road officers in the same uniforms and correct gear. Some officers previously had to purchase their own gear, Murray said. Another important issue for Murray is to make each officer more accountable to the public and to the department.

Murray comes from Rutherford County, where he&squo;s been in law enforcement for seven years. He often came to Polk when he was a magistrate in Rutherford County. He has an associate&39;s of applied science degree and a bachelor&39;s of science degree in criminal justice and is currently obtaining a master&39;s of arts in education from Western Carolina University.

Office changes

Several changes have taken place at the sheriff&squo;s office. Hill has moved his office and administrators&39; offices back upstairs. Hill has also provided an office for the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), which he says has worked well for both agencies. Animal control also now has its own office at the sheriff&squo;s office, which previously didn&squo;t exist.

Hill says moving back upstairs from the basement was one of his top priorities in coming into office because of his desire to be as accessible to the public as possible.

&dquo;I think it gives people a more comfortable feeling about coming here,&dquo; Hill said.

Domestic violence

Another priority of Hill&squo;s was to refill the position of domestic violence investigator. The position was on the books during the previous administration but was never filled. Hill quickly appointed Officer Kaye Adams to the position and says her role is serving the county well.

Hill says Adams is currently working a lot of domestic violence cases and has good working relationships with the local domestic violence shelter, Steps to HOPE and with the county department of social services.

Open house planned

Hill is also planning an open house soon to invite the public to the sheriff&squo;s office.

Tours of the department will be available and the main objective is for the public to meet and speak with the officers, Hill says. Refreshments will be served. The open house will be publicized to alert the public when it will be occurring.

Hill was appointed sheriff last November following the resignation of former sheriff Chris Abril as part of a guilty plea Abril took on two counts of solicitation to take indecent liberties with a minor.

Hill had worked at the sheriff&squo;s office for almost 18 years prior to being fired by Abril last year.