09/05/07 — Mount Olive swears in chief

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Mount Olive swears in chief

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on September 5, 2007 2:02 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Maj. Ralph Schroeder was officially sworn in as the new Mount Olive Police Chief this morning at the town hall by Mayor B.R. Huggins.

With tears in his eyes, he accepted the position.

Schroeder has served on the force for 28 years and has been the interim police chief since Emmett Ballree's resignation in July.

Ballree resigned following allegations that he used a town credit card to put gas into his personal vehicles. Ballree said that he resigned rather than put his family through an investigation.

Schroeder said he was a bit nervous before becoming the chief.

"It's a new job, and you want to do a good job," he said.

The mayor said he felt pretty good about Schroeder's new official title.

"I've known him for a long time," he said. "He's been doing good things."

Town Manager Charles Brown said he and the town were satisfied with Schroeder's performance.

"We are obviously delighted with the job he has been doing up until this point," Brown said.

Brown added that Schroeder was exactly what the town was looking for.

"We wanted someone who was firm but fair, strong but caring and would work hard to make the Mount Olive Police Department one of the best in the state," Brown said. "I think we all know who that person was. He ain't from around here, but he is now as much a part of Mount Olive as pickles, barbecue and sweet tea. Ralph is a tough, no-nonsense professional."

He said that the appreciation extends to the entire department.

"We are very happy with the MOPD," he said. "What we have seen from them is a lot more activity on their behalf. The feedback that I'm getting from the citizens is that they are seeing a great deal more of a presence on the streets and are beginning to feel more comfortable."

Brown attributed the increase in patrols partly to Schroeder.

"I think he has certainly set the proper tone for the department, and everyone is anxious to follow his lead," he said.

Schroeder was welcomed with open arms from his peers as well.

Both Wayne County Sheriff Carey A. Winders and Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace look forward to working with Schroeder. They said they will continue their support to Mount Olive with their law enforcement efforts.

"He is a great guy to work with," Officer Steven Parks said. "He is good for Mount Olive. He knows the people, the town. He's a good man for the department."

Parks added that Schroeder isn't shy about action.

"He's a more hands-on chief," Parks said. "He isn't afraid to go out on a call. I was along once on a call, and he came out to help me right away."

What will Schroeder do now?

"Pretty much the same thing he has been doing, only now he has the title," Brown said.

Schroeder said he has plans for some changes in the department but is keeping them quiet for now.

"I've got some ideas that I'd like to implement and some changes that I'd like to make in the department, but I'm not ready to say what yet."