11/25/10 — Fremont Police Chief Rawlings to train officers in Afghanistan

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Fremont Police Chief Rawlings to train officers in Afghanistan

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 25, 2010 12:07 AM

FREMONT -- Fremont police Chief R.K. Rawlings, 57, will step down from his job on Monday, and by Tuesday will be on a plane to Dubai, on his way to Afghanistan where he will train Afghan police officers.

"I am taking a contract position with Dyn Corp. International," Rawlings said. "It really will be a challenge, but that is what I am looking for. I am an ex-military man, so I realize that it is a war zone."

Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie said town officials have known for several weeks that Rawlings was applying for the job. The chief turned in his resignation Monday after he found out he had the position.

"The chief has done an awesome job for the Police Department and the town of Fremont," McDuffie said. "The department is much improved. The chief is leaving the department in great shape and we hope to continue to build upon that and move forward.

"We'd love for him to stay, but we can't compete with the salary they pay over there. I hope for the best for him."

The town has begun advertising the position and McDuffie hopes to begin reviewing applications by Dec. 28.

In the meantime, Sgt. Teresa Quinn will serve as interim chief. Ms. Quinn, who has been with the department since August 2008, has 17 years experience in law enforcement, McDuffie said.

"She will do a good job as interim chief," he said.

The department has four full-time and four part-time officers and an operating budget of $245,000.

Rawlings, who retired from the state Highway Patrol after 26 years of service, has been police chief in Fremont for about four years. He was in the Army for three years, serving as a military policeman.

"I have had a great run in Fremont and there have been a lot of improvements," he said. "The department has undergone a lot of changes."

Rawlings said he is particularly pleased with progress in stemming the drug trade, something he had pledged to work on when he first became chief.

He said, using grant money, the department had forced drug dealers out of their "comfort zone" and into doing things differently. Rawlings said the move has not completely eliminated drugs, but has made a difference.

"The thing about a small department is that we can't keep officers in place a long time," he said. "However, I am pleased where I am leaving the department. The policies are in place. The structure is in place. The discipline is in place. I have had great support from council members. They gave me whatever I asked for whenever they could. When I first got here, they gave me a great opportunity."

Rawlings said his contract in Afghanistan is for one year and is renewable on an annual basis.

Training the Afghan officers will give him a way to do his part in the war on terrorism, he said.

"When I saw 9/11, I felt helpless because I was no longer in the military," he said.

Rawlings said he has the support of his children.

"One daughter told me, 'I don't want you to go to Afghanistan, but I have never known you to make a bad decision as far as your career,'" he said. I will teach people in that country that do not have the discipline and are marred down in corruption. I will be able to explain how it works."

According to the town's advertisement for applications, candidates for the job must have at least five years of "strong technical and leadership" experience in law enforcement in a "multi-cultural community."

They also must be a North Carolina Certified Law Enforcement Officer. The starting salary will be "about" $45,390, according to the ad.

Candidates must have a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, public or business administration or a related field or an equivalent combination of education and experience.