It may seem like a small thing, but to interim Laurinburg Police Chief Kimothy Monroe it is important that new officers be sworn in by the mayor of the city.
At Monroe’s recommendation, new members of his department will no longer be casually sworn in by fellow staffers.
The policy change means that two police officers hired this month by the city will be sworn in by Mayor Tommy Parker at a city council meeting on Monday.
“It’s a matter of pride,” said Monroe, who first proposed that the swearing in of new officers be done in a more formal setting. In recent years new police officers have taken their oaths with any one of a number of staff members in the police department with the appropriate credentials.
“I recommended the change because those guys put in a lot of hard work training and have dedicated hours to attaining their certification. They should have a lot of pride in that and in the work they will be doing itself and that deserves recognition,” Monroe said.
Being sworn in by the mayor lends a weight to the proceedings that would otherwise be lost, according to Monroe.
“We appreciate the mayor giving these new (officers) the opportunity,” added Monroe, who keeps a copy of his oath of office signed by the mayor on his office wall.
In the past officers were sworn in by the mayor, but in recent years that changed.
“I don’t quite remember when it changed, but I am glad to be doing it this way again,” said Parker, who called it an honor to be able to personally swear in those charged with protecting and serving inside the city limits.
“Just like our military, they give us the freedom that we enjoy of being able to walk the streets and do our business in safety. And we want to be able to show them every appreciation we can. They put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis and want we to let them know that their mayor and the city council appreciates what they do.
Parker said that he believes bringing the officers before city officials and allowing them to put faces to names will also cultivate a sense of unity.
“Anything we can do to help create that united feeling and that sense of team, I am all for,” Parker said.
Involved in the hiring process of new officers, Laurinburg Human Resources Director Amy Martin said that the new policy more appropriately reflects the importance of the police officer’s role.
“More than anything, it is one of the most important positions within the city,” Martin said.
Also at the Monday meeting, city council will schedule a date for the 2013 citizen budget input session. In the past the sessions have been held to invite locals to give feedback on the budget for the upcoming year.
While the format for the meetings is still being determined, interim City Manager Harold Haywood said that he believes participants will provide useful feedback to the city.
“Before we have met at the AB Gibson center and invited the public to come make comments and offer their input on the budget,” Haywood said.
According to Haywood, in the past attendees were broken up into groups and invited to create recommendations to the council in a structured setting.
Martin said that she will review how past meetings were organized and offer a recommendation to council for how this year’s edition of the input session might be handled.
The Laurinburg City Council will meet at the Municipal Building on 303 West Church Street on Monday at 6 p.m.