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Former Roanoke Rapids police Chief Chuck Hasty has 15 days from the time of his January 30 exit interview to appeal a decision to fire him, City Attorney Gilbert Chichester confirmed this morning.

Hasty Tuesday night declined to say whether he would appeal.

On a night after several people spoke on his behalf before city council and held a prayer  vigil afterward at Centennial Park, he said via phone, “It’s very humbling and I appreciate all the support from everybody.”

Both Chichester and City Manager Joseph Scherer, who made the decision to fire Hasty last week, declined comment on the reasons for his termination following city council’s meeting Tuesday night.

Those supporting the former chief asked council to reconsider Scherer’s decision as between 15 to 20 Roanoke Rapids officers stood at the back of Lloyd Andrews City Meeting Hall in an apparent show of support for the police department.

Marcella McCachren told the panel, “I have seen him in a professional capacity over many years. My first meeting with Chuck I was on the board for Relay for Life. We found out the day of the relay that we had to have a policeman present all night which we didn’t know about and Chuck came forward and said ‘absolutely I’ll be there for 24 hours’ and he was. I thanked him that night and he said, ‘It is an honor and a pleasure to serve.’”

McCachren said Hasty has always had a huge interest in the children of the area. “Chuck spent a lot of time with me down at the Boy & Girls Club where I volunteered for many years. Chuck knew that if he takes those kids when they’re young and he teaches them and he works with them and they honor and respect him, that when they get older they’re not going to be a problem for him, for our community, for our city.”

McCachren said Hasty “spent hours and hours down there. I have been in Kim Taresco’s office when he’s called and said ‘can I bring pizza down for the kids today, we just want to hang out.’ I have been down there and I watched him play basketball … he’s connecting with those children.”

She said at Halloween her son was a police officer. “He was Chief Chuck this year for Halloween because he has so much respect for him and when Chief Chuck talks to my 4-year-old he doesn’t look down at him, he gets down on the ground and gets eye-level with my son and he speaks with him and he talks to him about not being afraid of the police, about how to work with the police.

“I have seen him at the Boys & Girls Club with a group of policeman showing these kids what to do if they get stopped.”

McCachren said she has seen Hasty grill out in the parking lot of the club. “I know you guys have a personnel issue, but I’m just telling you that Chief Chuck is for Roanoke Rapids, Chief Chuck is for me as a citizen and he is for my children and I support Chief Chuck.”

McCachren referenced Mayor Emery Doughtie’s prayer at the start of the meeting in which he asked for wisdom as the panel deliberated issues. “I hope you all have the wisdom to know what you are losing in your police chief. He is a member of our community. I don’t know what he did. I didn’t ask him what he did. I didn’t ask anybody what he did but I can tell you that I know he is a man of integrity and a man of honor and that’s all I need to know. If he made a decision, he made it because he thought it was best for our community.”

Tammy Colston told council she wanted to “voice my concerns about what a huge loss for our community that I feel like we have in losing Chief Chuck. Chief Chuck has worked with me and my Girl Scout troop. He has worked with my daughters on numerous projects for our community.”

Colston said, “Anytime I call the police department and ask Chief Chuck for his help he always tells me, everytime, ‘yes, ma’am Miss Colston we’ll make it happen,’ and he never fails. My kids, the kids at our city schools … he helps with projects, Project Graduation, he helped us organize the Jail and Bail that brings in anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 a year and without him and his officers and their support and (volunteering) with us it would never happen.”

Everything Hasty did, Colston said, he did out of love for the community. “I feel it everytime we worked together on projects. As Marcella said, the decision is yours, termination or not, but I also feel it is a detriment to our community. I feel I speak for a lot of citizens here in this room tonight when I say our community needs more Chief Chucks and I stand with Chuck.”

Glenn Collins told council, “I don’t know much about the situation if anything at all but what I do know is Chuck has been a very level-headed person and for whatever happened I’d like for people to understand that it’s not a person in this room that has not lost their temper or said something they shouldn’t have said. I’d like for y’all to take that into consideration because when the situation is in your lap would you have done anything different? Would you have done better?”

Terry Buffaloe told council, “Chuck surprised me. I met him the day he was installed as chief of police here.”

Buffaloe also said it surprised him when Hasty was hiring new officers he asked him to serve on a hiring panel. “I thought this was a bold step. We got to question all of the candidates. I think community policing is very important and he seems to have a heart for the community. I don’t know what happened or what went on but I can say this to you — to find that quality of man that he is it’s going to be real hard to fill those shoes.”

Doughtie said council’s duty is to hire a city manager and city attorney and it is the manager’s duty to hire and fire department heads. “We feel the city manager makes decisions with careful resolution on each matter.”