04/01/11 — Fremont chooses chief of police

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Fremont chooses chief of police

By Gary Popp
Published in News on April 1, 2011 1:46 PM

Paul Edward Moats Jr.

FREMONT -- Paul Edward Moats Jr. was sworn is as the town of Fremont's new police chief Thursday evening, ending a search of four months.

Moats, who has more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement, said open communication will be a large part of his plan to be successful as the head of the department.

"I have an open-door policy. I am here to serve the community. If there are needs or problems going on in their neighborhoods, I want them to feel comfortable approaching law enforcement," Moats said.

After working with the Wilson County Sheriff's Office for two decades, Moats has learned the value of the public's input.

"I want there to be a good working relationship between the citizens and the police officers. We can't do this job without the citizens' complaints and without the citizens' information. Ninety percent of our job is based on information they provide us. Without that working relationships we won't get that information."

Moats said he started at Wilson County as a patrol deputy and rose to supervisory roles. During much of his career , Moats worked in the narcotics division, often working with other agencies including the drug squad at Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

"My working relationship has already been established over here in Wayne County. It is just a matter of me getting over here and getting used to the work in Fremont and how they operate," Moats said.

Small towns in Wayne County are often supported by the Sheriff's Office. Moats said he is open to building the bond between Fremont and county officials.

"I am a very big advocate on the working relationship with other agencies. I am open minded. I have worked with other agencies in the past and I want to continue that and improve it, if it needs to be improved in areas," Moats said.

Moat said he is will give himself 90 to 120 days to evaluate the department's officers before he considers doing any internal reassigning.

"Right now, based on speaking with the officers, I have a pretty good idea of what their work ethics are, and after reviewing their employee files, I really don't see a problem with the staff here. If there are problems they are issues I haven't seen yet," Moats said.

A husband and father of four, Moats said he and his family will continue to live in Wilson as he takes on responsibilities in Fremont.

"To me the commute is not that bad. It is 19 miles from my front door to the Fremont Police Department's front door," he said.

Moats said he is eager for the challenges that await him as police chief.

"I am going from a bigger department with an excess of 80 officers and coming to a department where you have eight officers, four part-time and four full-time," he said. "It is going to be an adjustment for me, but I feel like it is a very good experience for me in a leadership role, being able to come here and add my own ideas and trying to improve the community the best I can."

Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie said he is relieved to have a police chief sworn in.

"He is an outstanding individual with an outstanding track record," McDuffie said. "We had a great chief before, and we have a great chief now. This is a great time for Fremont."

McDuffie said Moats' extensive work history in narcotics makes him a good fit for the Fremont position.

"I think there are some drug issues in this town and that is a big part of his background, and I think he is going to be excellent in helping us take care of that problem," McDuffie said.