The most controversial topic at Monday’s Rocky Mount City Council was not on the agenda, but was brought up by Councilman Andre Knight at the end of the 4 p.m. meeting.
“For the first time in the last 30 years there is no person of color in the command staff (of the police department),” Knight said. “This action has taken this department backwards, not forward, in time.”
Police officials said the ranks of lieutenant and above are considered command staff, and a black and the first Latino lieutenant were promoted during the recent selection process. The two officers who were promoted to captain from four candidates – three white and one black – were white.
“We want all of our departments to represent the population, but at the same time we established a process for all the men and women of the department to have the chance to compete fairly,” City Manager Charles Penny said.
Councilman Reuben Blackwell said training readies candidates for the promotional process and more development is necessary.
Council members also approved the bid and allocation for Ford’s Colony Phase 4 infrastructure. A bond company will reimburse the city for the more than $3.1 million of work needed to allow 117 lot owners to build homes on their land.
Also approved at the meeting was support for a Rural Hope Grant application for a downtown Opportunities Industrialization Center medical facility.
Blackwell – who is the president and CEO of OIC – recused himself from the vote, which was supported by all other council members.
Blackwell did ask about a nearly $96,000 bid for 20 in-car video systems for the police department.
Chief Moore said the cameras will replace VHS systems in 12 patrol vehicles and add video systems to eight other cars.
Other action taken at the council meeting includes:
- An agreement with N.C. Wesleyan College for use of the Slick Family Foundation Tennis Complex.
- Seventeen taxi and limousine rights for drivers to operate in Rocky Mount.
Police Chief James Moore and the department will celebrate the internal promotions of officers at 3 p.m. Friday at the Booker T. Theatre.