Interim director chosen

Published 6:30 pm Friday, March 2, 2012

Drakeford to run city police, fire services starting April 2

Stacey Drakeford will serve as Washington’s interim police and fire services director, beginning April 2.

Stacey Drakeford

City Manager Josh Kay announced the appointment in a news release issued Friday morning. Drakeford, according to the release, most recently served as director of public safety for the city of Clinton, S.C., where Kay was city manager before coming to Washington.

Drakeford, a recent retiree from South Carolina, served for 18 years with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division prior to his time in Clinton. While at the division, he reached the position of assistant director. In all, Drakeford has more than 25-years experience in law enforcement and fire services.

The proposed reorganization plan for the city, unveiled publicly Monday night, includes a police and fire services division.

“I am excited that Stacy is available and willing to serve as our interim police and fire services director. His experience in managing both fire and police services will allow us to fully evaluate our transition to a police and fire services department,” Kay said in the release.

“I am honored to become a part of the Washington team and I look forward to working with the men and women of the Washington police and fire divisions. I also look forward to being a part of the community and working with our partner organizations to continue to make Washington a safe place to live and work,” Drakeford said in the release.

Mayor Archie Jennings, in a brief interview Friday, discussed the appointment.

“Well, we’re exciting to bring an interim in that we feel is very qualified to lead our police and fire departments going forward. Our public safety is incredibly important to the city of Washington and the community at large. So, the qualifications of a leader are the most important factor in that selection. So, we’re excited,” Jennings said. “As far as how it ties in to the reorganization plan, we think the timing is very good. We think people are energized around these changes. Again, the premium is on leadership — in that organization plan. We feel like this appointment fits very well into that plan.”

Asked if Drakeford’s rise to assistant director of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division speaks well of his qualifications, Jennings said, “Absolutely. I think that’s one of the things that jumps out from his resume, certainly. We’re impressed by that. I think to really get a feel for just how qualified he is, you need to look at the breadth of his resume. There’s a lot of training, there’s a lot of experience on those pages.”

Asked if the city plans to conduct a search for a permanent police and fire services director, Kay replied (by email), “Right now our intention is have Stacy as our Interim Director for 12-24 months. During that time we will evaluate what our search process may be.”

Drakeford holds a bachelor of science degree from Presbyterian College, a master of science degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in public administration from Troy University. Drakeford is a graduate from the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy, the Federal Emergency Management Institute Professional Development Program and the Rural Executive Management Institute. He is a graduate of the Fire and Rescue Management Institute at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, holds the National Firefighter Level 2 designation and has attended numerous National Fire Academy courses.

Drakeford began his law-enforcement career with the Bennettsville (S.C.) Police Department before joining the S.C. Highway Patrol. After joining the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, he held five positions before becoming assistant director — special agent, a lieutenant in the alcohol-enforcement section, a captain in that section, a captain in the vice-enforcement section and as an inspector in the office of the chief of the division.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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