Local News

New Fayetteville Police Chief Tours Neighborhoods

Posted June 21, 2001

— With any new job, it takes a while to learn the ropes. Fayetteville's new police chief Tom McCarthy is already getting his feet wet and he has been at it for just three weeks.

Thursday, City Council member D.J. Haire invited McCarthy into two neighborhoods he represents, Bonnie Doone and College Heights, high crime communities that have come a long way but still have a long ways to go, to listen and learn.

"They shouldn't have to live with bars on the windows. We have drug selling, a lot of mischief," says Haire.

"If we can put the force down on their head and let them know we don't want certain things in the community (then things will improve). That's where we need your help," Haire tells the chief. "The seniors will tell me, they are afraid to stand out on their porch."

"I want to make sure I don't come in with preconceived ideas. I want to learn what's going on and not make changes that are unnecessary. We want to do that as a team," says McCarthy.

Just a few weeks ago, this seemed like an unlikely team. Haire and many people in this neighborhood wanted the city manager to hire a black police chief. However, Haire says McCarthy's willingness to come into the community sends a strong message. He says he supports the new chief, and hopes the people who live here will as well.

"When you show him in the community, that will make people say, OK, alL right, he's interested. Let's see what he'll do now," says Haire.

With the seed planted, Bonnie Doone resident Michael Chestnut has high hopes.

"Keep the drug problems down, keeping the neighborhoods clean, just making sure everything is straight," he advises.

Thursday night, the community meets with the chief, and everyone will have a chance to express their concerns and ask questions. The combined community watch meeting will be held at the Smith Recreation Center, beginning at 6 p.m.


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