The Mount Olive Police Department is in the midst of a major transition.
Town Manager Charles Brown said by the end of October, all police officers will have new sidearm service weapons, up-to-date top of the line body cameras, and the department will have in operation 10 new 2019 police vehicles.
Already, the department has in operation six new cruisers and expects four more by the end of the month.
Brown said the department has a total of 16 vehicles now and with the addition of the new ones the entire department fleet will not have a vehicle older than three years.
The new sidearm service weapons are 9 mm Glocks. The guns are replacing 40 caliber service weapons.
The town manager said the reason for the change is because of the tremendous expense of ammunition for the 40 caliber weapons the officers were using.
Officers are now going through firearms training for the transition of weapons, Brown added. They have to qualify in both day and night firing.
The new body cameras are top of the line in technology, and replace cameras that officers have been using for a number of years.
Mount Olive was the first law enforcement agency in the county to use body cameras.
Brown was asked about the impact of morale for police officers with all of the changes.
“Well, if you see them riding around with a big smile on their face you will understand. I have had numerous comments from our officers about how much they love and appreciate the new cars,” said the town manager. “These men and women perform a very dangerous job, and we need to provide them with the best we can provide them in order to do their job. You know, they load up in the morning, put on 30 pounds of gear, and they do it every day and without complaint.
“These folks put themselves in harm’s way every day, and the least we can do is provide them with the best we can afford.”
The new body cameras are not here yet, but Brown said he expects them by the end of the month.