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Champion sworn in as BPS director

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BUTNER — James Champion was sworn in as the new chief of Butner Public Safety on Aug. 1 in a special ceremony that preceded the regular meeting of the Butner Town Council.

Champion, who has 26 years of fire service experience as well as 14 years of law enforcement experience, previously served as BPS fire captain since 2013 and was moved to police services in February. He replaces Police Chief Danny Roberts, who officially retired last week.

“Congratulations to Chief Champion and all the officers promoted,” said council member Michele Branch. “I know all of you and I’m happy to see that we promoted from within and I know you will do great things in the future.”

The new chief also made his first monthly report to the council. Three vacancies were filled within BPS and with Roberts’ retirement, there is a new vacancy which the new chief expects to fill shortly.

While there was no significant police activity, Champion reported BPS being called to a kitchen fire on Massimo Drive, as well as several weather-related calls.

“We were also recently to a fire at a house where the people who live in the house were outside and didn’t know their fire alarm system notified us,” Champion said. “So I highly recommend that people make sure you check your smoke alarm batteries and make sure your fire alarm system works.”

In other council business, a budget amendment for $75,000 was unanimously approved for costs associated with immediate needs for securing and maintaining the property of the former Umstead Correctional Center. The property was sold to the town by the state for $1 and ownership transferred July 19 via House Bill 757, which was signed by Gov. Roy Cooper.

Town Manager Thomas Marrow informed the board that the approved money would go toward one-time costs such as securing the buildings and maintaining the property. Recurring costs are estimated to be $106,404 per year. That figure does not include costs of insurance and liability which is being evaluated and will be brought to the board at a later date.

The next meeting of the Butner Town Council is scheduled for Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. at Butner Town Hall, 415 Central Ave.