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Rincon chief still looking to fully staff police force
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The Rincon Police Department is still two officers short of a full roster, but Chief Michael Berry told city council members he wants quality over mere quantity.

“I want professional officers,” he said.

The department has a few officers recovering from injuries and surgeries. Officer Rena Brown is expected to be out for two months after having surgery for lung cancer. Cpl. Brian Boatright is now back at work after being injured and on his way back to work one day, he stopped a wanted suspect, Berry said.

Officer Jose Ramirez, injured while apprehending a fleeing suspect, has been back at work while he recuperates. The department has been reorganizing its records, spending nine hours last Saturday going through what can be kept and what should be destroyed.

“Of 11 boxes, we filled seven of them with records that should have been destroyed,” Berry said.

The new chief wants the police department’s records to be digital next year.

The Effingham County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to handle the police department’s evidence and also has “graciously accepted taking the narcotics evidence,” Berry said. He praised sheriff’s office evidence technician Bill Gibson.

“(He’s) been awesome. He’s been fantastic to work with,” Berry said.

Rincon PD hopes to have its evidence collecting and storage operational by July 1, the chief said.

Berry also promoted Michael Witt to sergeant, and Witt will be the acting chief as Berry returns to Virginia for a week.

Berry called Witt “a tremendous asset” during the first 30 days of reorganization.

The Rincon Police Department also is working with the Port Wentworth Police Department on plans for the National Night Out, Berry said.