King council reverses decision on police car purchase

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KING, N.C. — King City Council voted Monday night not to buy two new police cars. That’s just one month after voting to discuss the possibility of having deputies replace the entire department.

The vote to cancel the order was 3-1. Just a few months ago, however, council had voted to approve the purchase.

That has Councilman Wesley Carter, the only one who voted against canceling the order, wondering what led to council’s reversal.

“I’m not sure why the change of heart. I don’t think our vehicles have improved with the condition of them since the last time. I’m waiting for some reason why we are changing our mind,” Carter said.

Councilman Brian Carico, who brought up the idea of contracting the city’s police coverage to the Stokes County Sheriff’s Office, also voted for canceling the order Monday night.

“I don’t understand how it would be responsible of the council of the purchase of almost $60,000 if they may not be needed,” Carico said.

Carico said he brought up the police coverage idea because the city is expected to bring in 5-6 percent less in property tax revenue.

Stokes County commissioners are expected to talk about the idea at its meeting March 12. It’s unclear if commissioners are even interested in the idea.

However, Police Chief Paula May said no one on council has talked with her about the idea since it was brought up at the meeting or even before that.

Several King residents packed council chambers packed Monday night, just as they did at a community meeting a few weeks ago.

“Does the council really believe it would help attract business to the area by doing away with the police department?” said Steven James, a county commissioner candidate.

“I believe it is unthinkable to eliminate the King Police Department or any other department in the city,” said Terri Fowler a former city councilwoman.

Mayor Jack Warren, who missed the February meeting due to being ill, said his goal remains the same as when he was elected.

“I want to maintain what we’ve got in this city. If we can do that, I will be satisfied,” Warren said. “We will get through and we will come out a better city. If we don’t work together, ladies and gentlemen, the way times are now, we are lost.”

Council also scheduled a public hearing for March 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the King Elementary School gymnasium.