Bunn went before the Bladen County Commissioners at their meeting last week to speak about his request.
“We are now having to call in patrol deputies to handle many of the tasks that need to be done at the office. This is causing added mileage to the cars, increasing the use of gas, and consuming man-hours that could be used on road patrol,” Bunn told the commissioners.
The new Desk Sergeant will be an experienced officer who will work in the office during regular office hours.
The officer will respond to citizens both in the office and on the phone, make follow up calls on crimes to collect and verify data, serve court papers for those who come to the office to be served, and will fingerprint job applicants, among other duties.
“With the duties that will be expected of this officer, I feel that the pay grade should be the same as a Shift Sergeant, which is Grade 68,” Bunn said.
The cost for this fiscal year, including benefits, will be $21,825, with costs for subsequent years of $44,500.
Commissioner Jimmy Smith made a motion to approve the request, and Commissioner Lewis Tatum seconded the motion. The board approved the new position by a unanimous vote.
Next, Bunn made a request to replace some of the bulletproof vests that are worn by the officers while they are on duty.
The vests currently used are over five years old, and no longer have manufacturer’s warranty or liability protection. This leaves all liability for failure of the vests resting on the county.
“I discovered this information when I tried to call the company for replacement parts and couldn’t get them,” said Bunn.
Of the approximately 45 vests that are currently in use, 35 will need to be replaced, at a cost of $17,465. A grant in the amount of $10,735 has been received, leaving the total cost for the county at $6,730.
Commissioner Charles Ray Peterson made a motion that was seconded by Commissioner Billy Ray Pait to approve the purchase. The vote to approve the request was unanimous among the Commissioners.
Commissioner Delilah Blanks said, “I don’t know how we couldn’t approve that.”
Bunn told the Commissioners that from now on, a few new vests will need to be purchased each year to ensure that all are less than five years old, with manufacturer’s warranty and liability protection intact.