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Mayor reappointed to regional transportation committee



Becky Strickland reads her four-page, handwritten public comments to the Middlesex Board of Commissioners on Monday. Hannah Whitley Camarena | Enterprise

MIDDLESEX — The Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to reappoint Mayor Lu Harvey Lewis to the Upper Coastal Plains Rural Planning Organization’s Transportation Advisory Committee at its regular meeting on Monday. 

According to Lewis, the committee discusses transportation initiatives and recommendations and consists of members from four counties: Nash, Wilson, Edgecombe and Johnston. Nash County commissioners voted Dec. 5 to appoint Commissioner J. Wayne Outlaw and representatives from the towns of Middlesex and Whitakers to the committee. Governing bodies in each town select their representative on the panel. 



Lewis began serving on the committee in January 2015, then became vice chair in March 2017. He was appointed to chair the TAC in July 2019. 

POLICE GRANT

The Board of Commissioners accepted a $25,000 Bureau of Justice Assistance Local Law Enforcement Block Grant for the Middlesex Police Department, which provides “units of local government with funds to underwrite projects to reduce crime and improve public safety,” according to an online BJA fact sheet. 

“The grant covers just about anything so long as it’s not a vehicle,” said Chief J.T. Amos. 

He said he plans to spend the money on three items.

“This grant will be to put safety dividers in the patrol cars to separate the officers and  prisoners during transport,” Amos said. 

The money will also be used to place automatic defibrillators in patrol cars and provide training for officers to use them. The last thing, he said, is “to cover the cost of the department ammunition for the officers’ required year’s firearms training.”

IN OTHER BUSINESS

• Commissioners voted to sell two 2018 Ford Explorer patrol SUVs and pay the remaining $6,831.62 from a $22,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture loan the town received in 2018. The town bought two new patrol cars after Monday’s meeting, and it will take about 30 days to equip the vehicles for police use. The town will sell the chief’s car first, and he will use the other patrol car until the new ones arrive.

• Town residents Edna Mount and Becky Strickland spoke during time reserved for public comment. 

Mount requested that name tags be placed on the police department’s uniforms. After the meeting, Amos said that isn’t currently possible because the uniforms are reused, and garments with embroidered names wouldn’t be transferrable. He said adding Velcro patches with officers’ names to their vests isn’t feasible because “just about every officer has a different style” of out carrier, or vest.

“They are all different (and) not all of them have Velcro over the area where a name tape would go,” Amos explained.

He said the town is looking at “replacing the vests next year when they expire, and then all officers will have an outer carrier like the one I wear.” With that style, he said if the town doesn’t “change their design, name tapes could be looked at when the new vests are ordered.”

Strickland requested audio recordings of the board’s monthly meetings. After Monday’s meeting, Lewis said he would email Strickland the information later in the day.