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Roseboro could lose town police department

Posted November 9, 2008

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— The Sampson County Sheriff's Office could soon be patrolling Roseboro streets, bringing to an end a police department that has protected the town of 1,500 for decades.

The Roseboro Police Department has been troubled since its chief resigned in May. Interim Police Chief Anita Merritt stepped down in September on the same day a captain was arrested for buying a vehicle transmission with town money.

The department is full staffed with five workers but employs only two people.

Despite those troubles, closing the police department would be a big change for the small town, Commissioner Anthony Bennett said.

"It was born in 1950. It was here then, and it's still here now," Bennett said.

Troubles finding a new chief, however, led town commissioners to vote 3-1 in favor of entering a contract with the sheriff's office.

"The reality is we can't afford in our budget the kind of folks we need with the skills that are required to do a good job," Mayor Roland Hall said.

Under the contract, the sheriff's office would hire four deputies who would be assigned to Roseboro. Town officials say they would have to pay $189,000 up front to hire the deputies, but the arrangement would save Roseboro up to $70,000 a year.

Bennett expressed sadness that his town might lose its own police force.

"I'm not saying that the sheriff's office won't do a great job if the need comes, because they're supportive of our town anyway," Bennett said. "But I just think our town needs its own police force."

However, such arrangements are becoming more common for small towns, Hall said. In July, the Sampson County Sheriff's Office struck a similar agreement with the town of Garland.

"Our decision to contract with the sheriff was not a hasty decision. We agonized with it most of the summer," Hall said. "This seems to be what a lot of small towns are having to do these days in order to give protection that our people need."

Sampson County commissioners are expected to approve the deal once attorneys have worked out the details.

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  • 07GoldWinger Nov 10, 2008

    Years ago, I worked for the Roseboro PD. I am sure crime is higher since I was there and their dependance on a single officer on duty at a time was not an easy job. The mayor back then did not support the chief and we paid out of our pocket to keep bare essentials for daily work. The Sampson Co. SO would have to come in so often to help with domestic calls, they were practically working the town to begin with. And drugs in Roseboro was out of control and we're talking 15 years ago. We would get good officers and they'd leave as soon as they got experienced enough to get hired elsewhere.

  • SomeRandomGuy Nov 10, 2008

    I am confused...Why would the town have to sign a contract with the SO? If they don't have a contract does that mean the Sherriff's dept ISNT going to patrol the town???

  • jlh4jdj Nov 10, 2008

    I agree. I think that now maybe this is a move in the right direction. I don't know we will see.

  • newwake Nov 10, 2008

    A lot of places are facing the same troubles. You cant pay a decent police officer so little and expect him/ her to stay. There are some places in the State that still offer starting salaries for police officers less than $20,000 a year. No one can live on that. Even in small towns, police officers face dangerous and stressful situations, and then to pay them that little and add the extra stress of financial hardship...its just too much to ask for so little. People aca complain and gripe all they want about bad police service but you get what you pay for in most cases. Its truly a sacrifice for a lot of officers out there. They did choose the profession, but honestly do you think any bright, college educated, physically fit, mentally sound person is going to choose to work in a town that can barely pay them above minimum wage?