Southern Shores approves police ‘recruit’ position to fill vacancy

Published 4:23 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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In an effort to solve the prolonged vacancies in the police department, the Southern Shores Town Council approved a new “police recruit” position on November 14, 2023.

Chief David Kole said that he has been considering for some time the possibility of hiring a “qualified non-certified non-sworn individual” as a recruit, and putting this person through the NC Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) Academy paid for by the town.

Several factors gave Kole reservations, including what would happen if the recruit were injured, did not pass the NC BLET exam, or resigned prematurely.

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Kole met with town attorney John Leidy to create a contract whereby the town would recoup some of its financial losses from the recruit in training expenses according to various circumstances of termination.

These recouped funds range from $1000 to $4500, depending on length of employment. The contract requires a minimum contract of three years from the date of hire.

The position would be salaried at what Kole described as “fair” – 25% below the starting salary of a sworn officer.

Kole was clear that his priority is not just to fill a position; he stated that he could have done that two years ago. “We want someone that’s going to fit in with the department that we have and the community that we have,” he said to council members.

“I think it’s something we should try,” agreed Mayor Elizabeth Morey. “It’s a potential path forward. We seem to be stuck so let’s try something we haven’t tried before.”

Kole said that upon the approval from council, he’s ready to offer the recruit position to someone specific from Currituck who has shown potential and interest in the department. He hopes that through this program, one of the three vacancies can be filled with a recruit.

“We’re going to have to grow our own,” summed up council member Leo Holland.