PRINCEVILLE — Police Chief Joey Petway wants the best for his department and the town that he serves. Now in his third year as the town's top cop, he is working towards that goal.
"I'm a bowler. On my bowling team, I always want a loaded team,"Petway said. "I want the same for my police department. I want to be able to attract people to my team that can actively solve crimes and give the community a person who they can talk to and know if they give information, it will be developed in such a way that professional service will be given.
"The loaded team can not operate without good equipment. My goal is to provide my officers with the best equipment which will allow them to perform their duties in an efficient and effective manner."
Petway has not quite met his goal as far as equipment is concerned, but he is pushing toward it.
Two of the police department most recent purchases are two Dodge Charger cruisers. The new cars replaced high-mileage cruisers that were in constant need of repairs.
The Chargers have become favorites among police departments all across the state, and the N.C. Highway Patrol is among the agencies using the brand.
Princeville officers drive an unmarked black Charger as well as a marked silver Charger.
"The officers and the public have been very receptive to them," Petway said. "By updating the fleet, it gives each officer a sense of more equipment to come. We hope to apply for another Charger in our next budget."
The Princeville department is currently operating with four full-time officers and two part-timers. Petway said he will fill a vacant full-time possession in the near future. The chief's current staff averages at least 10 years of service, he said.
"I'm fortunate to have a staff with that amount of experience in a small town like Princeville, he said. "Experience means a lot, especially when it comes to our citizens."
Although Petway boasted about his officers experience, he is not resting on those laurels. He is always searching for means of improving his department.
"There are some things that we will do as a department to provide better service to the town. I want to become a community oriented police department — get out and walk the streets instead of cruising around all the time. I want to start a community watch and a Senior Citizen Academy. I want to start a Junior Police Academy. These are the things that will improve my department and make the town safer."
A curfew is currently being discussed to also improve the safety in the town. If the town enforces a curfew, it must have 24-hour coverage, which it currently doesn't provide.
One of the black eyes the department faces is the constant complaining about crime in the Southern Terrace Community. There are not too many monthly town meetings that Petway is not questioned about crime in Southern Terrace.
Since his tenure began, he said arrests in the area have gone up and more crimes have been solved.
After being drilled during Monday's meeting, Petway ended his departmental report by singing the spiritual "I need thee."
"When you see tension, sometimes it's best if it's not a comic relief, but a relief that can break tension to allow people to reflect. I wanted them to reflect on a new beginning and better days to come. Things that are behind us, let them be behind us. Let's go forward on the principle that this town was built on. And let's build it even better. Let's build the police department even better, also."