Uniformed police officers will walk the beat in neighborhoods, downtown Rockingham and other business districts this year, if several 2013 goals of the Rockingham Police Department are realized.
Having police on foot in those areas is just one of five goals listed by Police Chief Billy Kelly, as part of the 2012 Annual Police Department Report.
Kelly delivered the report Tuesday evening to the Rockingham City Council, receiving high praise from council members for running such a good police force.
The police department’s 2013 goals are:
1. Create a new detective position in the criminal investigations division, in order to create a crime scene technician, designed to solve more crimes using forensic evidence and modern technology.
2. Assign officers to neighborhoods and business districts on foot patrols utilizing two officers at a time. The goal is to increase visibility of the department and to deter crime by speaking to residents and businesses about concerns they see on a daily basis.
3. The department is using new Viper portable radios, however there is still a need to purchase radio units for the patrol cars as well.
4. With the implementation of the Traffic Enforcement Division, another goal is to lower the overall traffic collision rate, including personal injuries and fatalities.
5. The department seeks to continue its outside projects including the Junior Police Academy, Long Drive Apartment/Cauthen Drive Task Force, Back to School events and senior projects with students in their senior year, as well as safety talks in schools and neighborhoods.
Also Tuesday, the council held a pubic hearing on a request to rezone 1.43 acres located at 106 Yates Hill Road and 195 W. U.S. Highway 74 Business from Light Industrial (I-1) to Highway Business (B-3).
The subject property consists of two tracts located on the northwest corner of Yates Hill Road and West U.S. Hwy 74 Business. The applicant is Jimmy Capp. The current use on the corner lot is a convenience store, which is a permitted use in either the I-1 or B-3 zones. The adjacent lot (195 U.S. Hwy 74 Business) was previously used as an automotive repair shop.
In a report on the case, the planning and zoning staff said the applicant recently purchased the property at 195 U.S. Hwy 74 Business and is considering several different types of retail sales uses.
The report notes, as stated in Section 3.01 (K) of the zoning ordinance, the I-1 zone is “intended to accommodate and provide areas for wholesale activities, industrial research, warehousing and light manufacturing operations.”
The ordinance says the B-3 zone is “generally intended to accommodate and provide for the development of a variety of commercial activities where municipal services are available or anticipated … along major thoroughfares and at major intersections.”
The report goes on, “In the opinion of City staff, this is a reasonable and logical request. The location (frontage on US Hwy 74 Business), the current use of the subject property, and the desired future uses of the subject property are more consistent with the stated intent of B-3 zone.”
The Planning Board reviewed Capps’ request on Feb. 4 and recommended the City Council rezone the property.
The City Council unanimously approved the rezoning.
Mayor Pro Tem John Hutchinson was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
Also Tuesday, the City Council:
• Complimented city staff for a very successful opening of Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham, the new interactive children’s museum in the downtown area.
• Saw Mayor Steve Morris and Chief Kelly present an Advance Law Enforcement Certificate to Brandon Lugabihl and Intermediate Law Enforcement Certificate to Steve Odom.
— Editor John Charles Robbins can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 13, or by email at email@example.com.