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Overtime approved for county deputies

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A firearm stolen in Alabama and used in a homicide in Florida; an alleged identity thief with a check printer and credit card maker from Fayetteville; a suspected drug runner with loads of crack cocaine headed for a dealer distribution center up north; an accused murderer from South Carolina — all seized or taken into custody this year in Nash County because of the efforts of the Sheriff’s Highway Interdiction Program.

More Nash County deputies will be conducting such stops along Interstate 95 and other highways in Nash County thanks to approval of a special overtime policy by the Nash County Board of Commissioners.

The board approved the policy to ensure the program is adequately staffed throughout the week, especially during peak traffic period, said County Manager Zee Lamb.

Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said the safety of the people and the roadways in Nash County is his responsibility.

“These criminals can jump off the interstate at any exit,” Stone said. “It’s my job to make it safe for the people at home and on the highways.”

Business is good. Federal asset forfeiture laws allows the Sheriff’s Office to keep some of what it seizes.

“It’s been lucrative,” Stone said.

County officials anticipate the additional man hours dedicated to the program will generate funds exceeding the overtime costs of the additional man hours.

The program is all about stopping criminals and protecting law-abiding citizens, said Capt. Allen Wilson, who supervises the program at the Sheriff’s Office.

In May, deputies stopped a fugitive — described as armed and dangerous — accused of gunning down a 22-year-old man during a robbery in Williston, S.C.

“It’s proactive law enforcement,” Wilson said. “It’s also about our presence on the highway and our availability for calls that keeps people safe. There are Nash County residents who use the interstate everyday.”

I-95 runs from Maine to Florida, passing through Nash County close to the western limits of Rocky Mount.

Critics of the interdiction actions who argue the criminals should be allowed a free pass through the area don’t get the point, Wilson said.

A recent stop by Wilson’s team lead to the largest crack cocaine bust in Nash County history.

“This was headed to a distribution point up north, but then it would be headed right back to our neighborhoods,” Wilson said.

The team also stopped a gang member from Fayetteville with a car load of identity theft equipment.

“It’s a regular occurrence,” Wilson said. “These are nothing more than people stealing money right out of the bank accounts of hardworking people.”

Then there’s the firearm deputies seized last month that the ATF has linked through ballistics to a murder in Miami.

“Anyone who is focused solely on their area is missing out. Working collaboratively with other agencies can stop criminals from coming here and stop criminals here from going somewhere else to commit their crimes,” Wilson said.

Wilson, like Stone, is a retired highway patrolman.

“We’ve trained with the leading instructors in the nation,” Wilson said. “We’re trained to find hidden compartments from the headlights to the number. We’re doing community policing and while being polite we can detect deceit. We’re getting guns, drugs and a lot of money out the hands of criminals. They’re circumventing taxes. We’re hurting their continued criminal enterprise. All they care about is making money no matter who gets hurt.”

To further fund the program on a 90-day basis, Stone and Lamb have agreed to the following terms:

Three non-exempt staff members of the Sheriff’s Office will participate in highway interdiction activities and be paid overtime pay, when applicable.

The Sheriff’s Office staff will maintain daily productivity reports to be submitted to the county manager’s office on a monthly basis.

Renewals of the policy will be agreed upon jointly by the sheriff and county manager.

Expenses applicable to the overtime pay shall be paid from Equitable Sharing Funds Section V. 3. Salaries and Overtime.

Equitable sharing proceed expenditures will be agreed upon jointly by the sheriff and county manager.

Commissioners adopted the policy at their regular meeting July 8 following a closed session, said Janice Evans, clerk to the board.