11/24/08 — Pikeville's chief has plans for police department

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Pikeville's chief has plans for police department

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on November 24, 2008 1:53 PM


Pikeville Police Department Chief Pascal Tucker is seen in his office.

PIKEVILLE -- As a Raleigh patrolman for nine years, Pascal Tucker got his start in a bigger city.

Now, he is the chief of the Pikeville department, his jurisdiction covering a population of about 719 people.

Tucker is no stranger to life in the little town. He started work as a patrolman under former Chief Ken Barrett in October 2006, he said.

But Tucker likes Pikeville and its smaller scope because it allows for more personal contact between the police and townspeople, he said.

"There are great people here," Tucker said. "And they can always come to the police department, to me, specifically, and let me know any complaints that they have. We're just trying to do what we can to keep the crime down in this great town."

To that end, the police department will add an additional officer sometime in the near future, and interviewing has already begun. The town plans on hiring the officer sometime in the next month, Tucker said.

The town also promoted Officer Eva Scott to the rank of sergeant, increasing her salary to $31,500, according to town officials.

Those changes come after some past controversy over police personnel changes.

Until Pikeville officials announced the appointment of Tucker this month, the job of police chief had been vacant.

Mayor Herbert Sieger and Commissioner Al Greene, who is tasked with looking over the police department, had asked the former chief to work nights and weekends, and in March, Barrett balked at the proposition.

Barrett, who has since taken on a position as chief of Walnut Creek, did not return a message left for comment on personnel changes in Pikeville.

In the meantime, the current staff of the Pikeville Police Department say they're doing what they can to run an efficient department.

The new chief said his military service at various points in his career influenced his decision to be a law enforcer, and vice versa. He made the decision in his early 20s, he said.

"I've always wanted to be in law enforcement, and I figured the best way to try to get there was through the military," Tucker said.

He was in the Air Force Reserves in 1983, before starting his job as a Raleigh patrolman in 1988. He also served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force from 1998 until 2003, he said.

The new chief is also still in the Air Force Reserves, rejoining in 2003, and serving in a security forces squadron.

"It's one weekend a month, two weeks during a year," Tucker said of the Reserves service. "It used to be just a summer drill for two weeks out of the summer, but it could be anytime, now."

As far as changes to the Pikeville department, Tucker said there are a few things that need to be addressed.

"First thing is equipment. We need some updated equipment, and I'll be working with the Town Administrator (Kathie Fields) and the (town council) with that," Tucker said.

Equipment upgrades Tucker is looking for include laptop purchases, cars, radios and other items.

"The smaller towns don't have the bigger budgets like the bigger cities do," Tucker said.

But local jurisdictions with larger budgets do offer help to their smaller counterparts, the new chief said.

"I will say that the Wayne County Sheriff's Department has been very instrumental in assisting me where we need it," Tucker said.

And the new chief has already started looking at more inter-cooperation between Sheriff's Department officials and his small town crew, he said.

"I've already contacted a couple of their Drug Squad guys, so we (can) get a chance to get some joint ventures. That's one of the best things about northern Wayne County -- with the help of the Sheriff's Department and Fremont, we really work well together," Tucker said.