Police Chief Ricky Stumbo takes helm in Glade Spring
Jan 16, 2013 (Bristol Herald Courier - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
GLADE SPRING, Va. -- In a big city, a police chief might sit at his or her desk all day, pushing papers and attending meetings. In Glade Spring, the chief is as likely as his patrol officers to direct traffic at the end of a school day or write traffic tickets.
And that's part of what new Glade Spring Police Chief Ricky Stumbo is looking forward to in his new role -- being a part of the action as well as leading his department.
"Here, it's you're directing school traffic and out on patrol," Stumbo said Tuesday. "If it was a [desk job] I'd be bored to death."
Stumbo, who has worked with the department since 2009, was voted Glade Spring's new chief Monday night by Town Council members. He most recently served for several months as the department's interim chief, after the abrupt resignation of former chief Matthew Mullins.
Between six and eight people applied for the job, Mayor Lee Coburn said. Three people were interviewed Monday night and Stumbo was selected.
"I think everyone has been pleased with Stumbo's work ethic and integrity," he said. "He's got the respect of the community."
The department currently consists of three full-time officers, including Stumbo, and two part-time officers as well as auxiliary officers. A fourth full-time officer position will likely be filled later this week.
First up on Stumbo's to-do list is to revamp the department's policies and procedures, which is something that's been needed for many years, Stumbo said.
Stumbo also wants to increase the number of officers in the department, to provide 24-hour coverage, something that's impossible with the officers currently employed by the department, he said.
Stumbo, a Washington County native, worked with the Damascus Police Department for a few years before joining Glade Spring. He said working for a small department provides benefits not available to officers in big departments, such as having a say in the color of the office or what vests the officers wear.
Another small-town department perk: painting the cars yourself.
Stumbo and a part-time officer were largely responsible for the paint job on the department's two Impalas, a pink breast cancer awareness Intrepid and the department's Humvee. They got money for the painting supplies from the town, but then painted the cars themselves, something Stumbo said saves money but also instills pride.
When he arrived at the department in 2009, Stumbo said, the white Chevys were unmarked.
"I'm a big fan of the black-and-white paint scheme," he said. "There's no doubt about who we are. The colors on them are bright. When we're behind, beside or in front of you there's no doubt: It's the Glade Spring Police Department."
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