Former narcotics detective, Desert Storm soldier to take office later this month
The town of Stallings wrapped up a four-month search for a new police chief, announcing Thursday, Dec. 2, the hiring of Michael Dummett.
Dummett, 41, currently serves as police chief for the city of Raeford, in Hoke County. The move puts to rest a discussion that started with the Aug. 1 retirement of the town’s first police chief, Larke Plyler.
“I picked Stallings because it showed lots of growth in the last several years, and it was a department that looked to have solid officers and a good community base of support,” Dummett told a Union County Weekly reporter Thursday afternoon. “Once I met with the city manager and the city council, I knew that I wanted to work with a quality group of people that was as committed to serving their community as i will be as their new chief of police.”
An 18-year veteran of law enforcement, Dummet served as Raeford’s police chief since 2008. Prior to that he worked for the Salisbury Police Department, starting out in 1992 as a patrol officer and then working his way up as a narcotics detective and later a member of the SWAT team, where he became the assistant team leader.
Dummett also graduated from the FBI National Academy, completed training at the federal Narcotics Investigator School and Triad Law Enforcement Supervisory Program. He has a master’s in business administration from Pfeiffer University. That goes along with an associate degree in criminal justice from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Shaw University.
“I’m very pleased. I believe he’ll represent the town well,” Stallings Councilman Reed Esarove said. A former police officer and current chair of the town’s Public Safety Committee, Esarove said he found the new chief to be open minded, while at the same time able to present his case well.
“The training and education he has is invaluable,” Esarove said. “He’s established himself, both in Raeford and in Salisbury. I believe he’ll be a great addition to the town.”
On a yearly basis, the police department takes up 38 to 40 percent of Stallings’ budget. After Plyler’s resignation, the town’s finance committee examined data about potentially outsourcing public safety needs en route to developing a five-year capital plan.
Stallings has $1.9 million allocated in this year’s budget for public safety, using 22 officers in shifts of four at a time, for a town of slightly fewer than14,000 residents. By comparison, neighboring Mint Hill in Mecklenburg County, which has a population of slightly more than 20,000, operates a police force of 30 officers with a 2009-10 budget of $2.68 million. Most other Union County towns contract with sheriff’s deputies.
According to the National Association of Police Organizations, the average ratio for East Coast towns and cities is four officers for every 1,000 people and one officer for every 1,000 people on the West Coast, where sworn officers don’t do civilian work, reducing the number of sworn officers needed.
Dummett has varied experience, in small and large departments. Raeford has an estimated population of slightly more than 4,000 people, while more than 26,000 live in Salisbury. Before serving as an officer, Dummett was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, taking part in Operation Desert Storm. He has multiple awards from his tour of duty, including a National Defense Service medal, a Kuwait Liberation medal, two Combat Infantryman badges, a Sharpshooter badge and a Southwest Asia Service medal with two bronze stars.
Dummett is expected to take over the job later this month.