Kinston Public Safety Splits Into Fire, Police Departments

Belated news from Lenoir County. On July 1, the Kinston Department of Public Safety was split into separate fire and police departments. Local news–Kinston Free Press, WITN–have been covering same. The departments merged in 2004, when a special response unit was created of fourteen cross-trained police officers and firefighters.

The split originated after the retirement of Public Safety Director Bill Johnson on January 1. Since he left, the studied whether a joint department was the best continued direction for the city. Assistant Chief Don Crawford is the new Fire Chief, and Interim Public Safety Director Greg Thompson is new Interim Police Chief.

They’ve created a new administrative staff, which the fire department didn’t really have. (And which is required by state law for certain positions.) The staff is led by a new fire administrative captain, William Barrs, a former city firefighter and most recently a police crime lab detective. The position is now in charge of Fire Administration, which includes ISO ratings, city emergency planning, department safety, public education, and more.

Other staff members include Administrative Commander Earnest Davis and Training Safety Captain Michael Scrufari–both veteran fire department members–and Program Support Assistant Stephanie Harper, transferring from police. The news stories below provide more information about them.

Other details in the stories: The city has ordered a Pierce PUC pumper that’s due in the spring. The $600,000 truck will have a smaller wheel base, but the same amount of space for equipment storage. Readers may have other news.

In the last budget year, the city had these public safety division positions:

  • Administrative – 12
  • Law enforcement – 76
  • Fire and rescue – 47
  • Code enforcement – 4

The fire department has three fire stations with three engines and one ladder company. They’re also a new(er) facilities, erected within the last few years. Call volume? From April 18, 2014 to April 17, 2015, the fire department responded to 1,238 incidents. Mutual aid? Bordering and nearby are Hugo, Kinston Regional Jetport (cross-staffed by maintenance staff, if memory serves), North Lenoir, Southwood, and Wyse Fork.

What other public safety departments still operate around North Carolina? Butner, Havelock, and Morganton come to mind. Earlier ones were Chapel Hill (1971-1993), Durham (1970-1985), Knightdale (2002-2015), Washington (1996-1998), Winston-Salem (1973-1987). Readers, are there others?



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