06/05/14 — Pikeville's new chief sworn in Monday

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Pikeville's new chief sworn in Monday

By Melinda Harrell
Published in News on June 5, 2014 1:46 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Pikeville swore in a new police chief who said he hopes to change the way the department operates through more aggressive enforcement of laws and improved organization.

"We are going to change the way we do business up here. We are going to be more aggressive and restart the community watch program and get the citizens more involved," Chief Joe Sadler said.

The community watch program Sadler has in mind would involve regular meetings, initiatives that would inform citizens on how to safeguard their homes and community watch signs that include a number to call in case of suspicious activity.

Sadler has already created a new evidence procedure that is expected to streamline the collection process and reduces the number of people who have access to certain types of evidence -- the process would include a temporary evidence storage area that officers can access while working on a case and a long-term storage area.

The long-term evidence storage would only be accessible by Sadler and another sergeant.

"This process needs to be streamlined. Only two people need to have access to it," Sadler said. "The department hasn't been doing this in the past, and that is one thing that I am changing immediately.

"It will provide us with a more solid foundation when we go to court to have this chain of evidence policy and procedure."

Sadler also vowed to enforce traffic laws more aggressively and to attend the town council meetings regularly, so members of the community and the councilmen can stay informed about what the Police Department is doing and what issues the town may have in the public safety arena.

Sadler had already been acting chief in Pikeville for five weeks before he was sworn in Monday.

The town had been waiting on the transfer of the criminal justice training and standards certification that were necessary for Sadler to be officially sworn into duty.

Sadler, who has been in law enforcement for 30 years, began his career at the Jacksonville Police Department in 1983 and joined the North Carolina Highway Patrol in 1987, where he worked until his retirement in 2012.

After his retirement, he took a job with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, but Sadler said working as a police chief in Pikeville offered more opportunities.

"When I was working with the sheriff's department, I did work in the courts, serving as a bailiff, and I wanted this position because it offered me an opportunity to broaden my job spectrum," he said. "I am allowed to do a wide variety of duties in this position."