On the job less than a month, Laurinburg Police Chief Darwin Williams already has big plans for the department.
A number of important elements in Williams’ vision for the future of the Laurinburg Police Department were included in the city’s recent draft list of organizational goals, including the creation of a task force to investigate cold cases, a homicide tip line and the assignment of a police department liaison to assist the families of murder victims.
“I’m excited about being able to address these issues,” said Williams, invigorated by the prospect of being able to dictate the future of the department he has served for nearly two decades.
“Right now we are putting together a committee of people to discuss these ideas,” Williams said.
Like the more than 50 other goals on the city’s organizational list put together by City Manager Charles Nichols, most of the goals in public safety include targeted dates of completion.
For the creation of a task force to investigate so-called “cold cases,” Williams and his department have set a target date of Dec. 31, 2013. Williams said that he also wants to have the homicide tip hot line installed by that date, as well.
The departmental liaison to families of murder victims should be in place two months earlier, by October 31 of this year, he said.
“With the liaison we just want those families who have lost loved ones to know that they have not been forgotten,” the chief said.
The “Cold Case Task Force,” Williams said, is being created “to bring individuals to justice.” The homicide tip line serves a similar purpose.
To those who may have information about a homicide, Williams said that he would tell them that they “shouldn’t be afraid.”
“Come forward. Call anonymously. Call from a private line. We just want the information,” he said.
And to criminals and fugitives of the law, Williams has the following to say: “Don’t rest. We won’t stop coming for you.”
While not making an appearance on the list of goals, Williams said that one of his most important initiatives is the creation of a gang and drug task force to reach out to trouble youths and work toward solving the problem of gang crime in Laurinburg.
“We want to try to re-direct these young men,” Williams said of one of the task force’s functions. “Most of them probably have a lack of family support and are dropping out of school.”
All of the police department’s goals are designed to have “an instant impact,” according to Williams.
“We want to improve the reputation of the department. We are growing … and we are all going to give our all to accomplish our goals.”
In the city’s organizational goals list, public safety goals appear alongside beautification and finance, and Williams said that it should be that way.
“We are all working together to make Laurinburg a place where people want to live. Where people want to raise their children. All of us in the city have a role to play,” Williams said. “I’m thankful for the city manager that we have in place and the city council. It means a lot (that they put their faith in me), and we have a great mayor, manager, city council and staff and most of all a great city.”