By Sean Dunlap
Chief of Police Reggie Cain broached the subject of hiring additional police officers during last Monday’s monthly meeting of the Bude Board of Aldermen.
By Friday afternoon, the panel held a special called meeting to employ Kylene Lowe and Tommy Gibson as the latest additions to the town’s police department — effectively doubling the size of the municipal law enforcement agency.
The new faces on the force were something Cain had been contemplating even before the recent retirement of long-time patrolman Everett Marshall, who spent the better part of 30 years working for the town.
“I had been looking to see how we might be able to have more people in a law enforcement capacity, and I felt like it was time to make a move,” Cain said following the meeting. “I asked the board to consider the hires of several part-time officers and presented how it could be done within our budget. It moved forward from there.”
Cain, who has been at the helm of the department since December, said his desire is to see his agency grow in terms of meeting the needs and expectations of residents related to public safety.
“Both of these officers are already certified and we can get them out on the streets once they can get started for us,” he continued.
“Officer Lowe is from Chicago and has worked in law enforcement in Pike and Lincoln counties, and has a great work ethic. She believes in community involvement and that fits with our philoposhy in being interactive with those we serve in Bude.
“Officer Gibson has been involved with law enforcement in Lincoln County and with the state plus has a military background. His knowledge and experience will prove to be valuable in our town, and he is very personable.”
This past January, Cain asked to hire a part-time officer — Kenneth Short — and he has been with the department for now close to five months.
“Anybody who knows me or who has talked to me knows that I want to move the department forward,” Cain said. “We want to have professionals out there doing everything they can to help make our town better and safer.”
The officers who are coming on board will work up to 30 hours per week or 60 hours per biweekly pay period, and Cain said he would like to possibly add one more part-timer to his ranks by July.
“Bude has been known for only having two officers at any given time,” the chief added. “We have had to rely on the sheriff’s department to help cover the town when there’s no one from our department on duty.
“These hirings go a long way toward covering those gaps and not taking deputies away from their calls out in the county.”
Lowe, in a telephone interview following her hiring by the town, said she was proud to be the first female officer to work for the Bude Police Department.
“On a personal level, it’s a really powerful statement to show local kids that there are no limits to anything they want to do if they choose to do it,” Lowe said. “There’s always a first time for everything, and if you can be that first and use that platform to make a difference in the lives of others, it’s worth it.”
Lowe, who grew up in one of America’s largest and toughest cities, said she learned at a young age what a positive and impactful role a police officer can play in the lives of children and a community.
“I feel like I can show the people in the communities where I serve that I care about each individual … they are not just a number, a police report or a statistic,” she continued.
“I like to be the connecting bridge between citizens and law enforcement. Unfortunately, lots of people only go by what they see on TV or what they have encountered with the police.”
Cain said the bridge building mentioned by Lowe will serve to build trust with his agency and hopefully a better rapport when it comes to addressing crime in the town.
“We only move ahead when we all work together,” Cain said.