Pembroke got a new police chief Monday night when council members appointed former Guyton chief Randy Alexander as the city’s new top cop.
Alexander, 60, is retired Army infantry. He spent the past nine years as Guyton’s police chief after helping form the department. He was sworn in as chief at the beginning of Monday’s council meeting after being introduced by Public Safety Director Bill Collins, and will start at $35,000 annually.
Alexander said the opportunity to lead a bigger department prompted him to apply for the Pembroke job and leave Guyton, which had a full-time roster of four officers, counting Alexander. Pembroke has 10 full-time officers.
Alexander replaces interim chief Stacy Strickland.
It was unclear Monday what Strickland’s status with the department will be, but Alexander said he wants residents to know he wants to work with them.
“I’m a community-oriented police chief,” Alexander said. “I believe in the community helping us serve them. We want people to know we’re here for them, and that we want to serve them, but we need their input.”
Alexander, who said his first impressions of Pembroke have been good ones, said he’ll talk to residents to learn their concerns.
“It takes a lot of communication to find out what different parts of the city need from police,” Alexander said. “Downtown businesses may have certain things they may want us to do, the residential areas may have things they want us to do differently. Every part of a city is a bit different from the other parts.”
Fifteen candidates applied for the job before the city’s police committee narrowed that list down to five. Pembroke Mayor Mary Warnell said Alexander was a clear No. 1, thanks to “his organizational skills, his leadership skills and his desire to achieve more.”
The city in December bought land for a new public-safety complex and regained an old precinct in October when it re-established a precinct office at Miller Village.
Alexander actually was sworn in as an officer Dec. 31, but his appointment as chief came only after a screening process was complete, according to the city. He also is a certified firefighter, a certified law-enforcement instructor and a firearms instructor.
No raise, benefit instead
Pembroke’s 30 employees won’t get raises in 2015, but they won’t face higher deductibles or have to pay a portion of their health insurance, either. City council voted to shell out the additional $100 per month, per person it’ll cost to provide employees with insurance this year rather than give them a raise.
Pembroke pays 100 percent of employees’ health care, city clerk Betty Hill said. With the increase, that averages about $6,000 an employee.
Pembroke’s Fire Department promoted four volunteer firefighters Monday — Dalton Cook, David Cook and Joseph Walraven were promoted to captain, and Paul Doyle was promoted to lieutenant.
The promotions were based on “each firefighter’s on-the-job performance, their participation in training exercises and their initiative to achieve a higher level of responsibility,” Chief Peter Waters said.
Waters also handed out awards at Monday’s meeting, naming Dalton Cook the department’s officer of the year. Doyle was named firefighter of the year and Hunter Morrison was named rookie of the year.
The department recently lowered its ISO rating from a 5/9 to a a /49, “which is a direct reflection on the training, teamwork and leadership in the fire department,” Collins said.