Amery Griffin was sworn in, surrounded by his colleagues, as the Hamlet Police Chief at the Hamlet City Council meeting on Tuesday night.
Griffin, who has been with the department since 1986, replaced former Hamlet Police Chief John Haywood in September 2012. Griffin was then named acting chief, after Haywood was fired.
“I look forward to a great working relationship with Hamlet,” said Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr., who was on hand for the meeting.
Clemmons said he was honored to be able to witness Griffin being appointed and also said Griffin has a great working agency.
All members of the council congratulated Griffin on being sworn in. The oath of office was administered by Tammy Kirkley, Hamlet city clerk.
“I do the best job I can for the city,” Griffin said. “I appreciate them giving me the opportunity.”
City Manager Marchell Adams-David said that she is excited about Griffin being appointed. ” … he has stepped in when we needed him most and he has effectively answered the call of duty,” she said.
Haywood was “terminated” on Sept. 7, 2012. Adams-David said Haywood was dismissed for “failure in performance of duties” and “misuse and gross negligence in the handling of city funds and property.”
Adams-David then turned to Griffin, a captain in the police department, to run the department in the interim.
Also Tuesday, the City Council held a public hearing to discuss the possibility of lowering the speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph along the portion of Highway 177 South that is located within the Hamlet city limits.
Bill Pate, Hamlet resident, addressed the council and said that he was happy to see the announcement of the public hearing. Pate expressed concerns about a different section of Highway 177 where people are speeding through stoplights.
Steve Crews, Pastor of the Church of God of Prophecy, also addressed the council and said he supports the request to lower the speed limit. “It is a very wise decision to lower the speed limit,” Crews said.
Mayor Jeff Smart said changes to the speed limit are not going to happen overnight and the council will have to go through the proper channels before the speed limit is changed.
In other matters, the council:
• Approved the June 10, 2011 Water Shortage Response Plan which is required by North Carolina. The Water Shortage Response Plan that was approved in 2011 will be submitted to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and will be revised to reflect relevant changes once every five years or as requested by the department.
• Approved a resolution concerning an NC 177 Curb and Gutter project, which has the NC Department of Transportation repaving NC 177 from the northern city limits of Dobbins Heights to the railroad bridge south of U.S. 74 business in Hamlet. The DOT also plans to replace existing curb and gutter and sidewalk along the west side of NC 177.
• Announced city offices will be closed March 29 in observance of Good Friday. There will be no change to residential trash collection.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.