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Police Chief Sworn In
On June 11, Town Manager Sean R. Stegall appointed interim Chief of Police Toni Dezomits to serve as the community’s next Chief of Police. Hired in 1998 as a patrol officer in Cary, Chief Dezomits has served for more than two decades in a variety of positions including assistant police chief, professional standards commander, field operations officer and sniper on the SWAT team. Her selection to the department’s highest office followed a national search that garnered 59 applicants and an extensive process involving council members, fellow officers, members of the community and senior staff.
“Because of the life and death nature of the job, and because of the need for positive, high-profile relationships with all aspects of the community, and because a city has nothing without safety, Chief of Police is the single most significant hire of a manager’s career, and I believe that Toni Dezomits is the perfect match for the department, organization, and Cary as a whole,” said Stegall. “She is a very, very impressive person who works hard and demonstrates our culture at every opportunity. She is on an amazing trajectory with limitless potential to influence people in a positive way.”
During her interim period, Chief Dezomits met with numerous police officers to garner ideas that will shape the Department’s future. Under Dezomits’ leadership, the Department is conducting its largest promotional process in history and in accordance with the Imagine Cary Plan and Town Manager Stegall’s vision, she is working to realign the Department’s leadership structure, work schedule and staff development opportunities.
Fifteen New Firefighters Join the Ranks of Cary's Bravest
After eight weeks of intensive training, the 15 recruits of the most recent Fire Department Academy graduated April 11 in a joint ceremony with this year’s promotion class and award winners. In all, 13 firefighters were promoted to advanced ranks, four individual and unit citations were awarded, and 39 members were recognized for professional or academic achievements. The event brought a capacity crowd to the Arts Center on a beautiful evening to celebrate these accomplishments.
Ken Quinlan Graduates from FBI National Academy
On June 7, Assistant Chief Ken Quinlan graduated from the 276th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The FBI National Academy is a professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement managers nominated by their agency heads because of demonstrated leadership qualities. The 10-week program provides coursework in intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, management science, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication and forensic science. The Academy serves to improve the administration of justice in police departments and other law enforcement agencies both at home and abroad and to raise law enforcement standards, knowledge and cooperation worldwide.
Fire Department Hires Fire Marshal and Deputy Fire Chief
Jeffery D. Johnson joined the fire department as its new fire marshal on April 15. A native of Harnett County, Jeff started in the fire service as a volunteer in Fayetteville, N.C. while attending Fayetteville Technical Community College and Wake Technical Community College studying Fire Protection Technology. He is a certified Fire Protection Specialist and holds many other state certifications. Jeff has been in the fire service for more than 28 years, including more than 14 years spent as an instructor. He previously served as Assistant Fire Marshal with the City of Raleigh.
Michael L. Martin started June 24 as Cary’s new deputy fire chief. Having begun his professional career as a Deputy Fire Marshal in Harnett County, Michael’s passion to serve led his career to Cary as plans examiner in 2014. Later, he moved to the City of Fayetteville, where his last position was Assistant Development Services Director. Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in Fire Science with a concentration in Emergency Services Administration. He is currently working on a Master of Public Administration degree at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
At 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 7, the Cary 911 Communications Center began receiving and processing emergency calls and dispatching for Morrisville Police and Fire and Apex Fire. This was a culmination of a multi-year effort between Cary, Apex and Morrisville to establish a partnership to improve emergency response times by consolidating 911 call processing and dispatching functions.
The three agencies contracted with public safety consulting firm LR Kimball to conduct a feasibility study. The study, completed in October 2018, indicated that response times would improve if Morrisville Police and Fire and Apex Fire Departments moved their 911 call processing and dispatch services to Cary. Based on the study results, the agencies moved forward with the partnership. Technology improvements and staffing recruitment were implemented between October 2018 and May 2019. Improvements included network connectivity, security, E911 phone system and routing, GIS, Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), radio system, and logging recorder configuration changes and additions. Five emergency communications officers were hired to accommodate the additional workload. Lastly, an Interlocal Agreement detailing the partnership’s governance and funding mechanism was approved by each agency’s Council.
The collaboration that resulted in this consolidation of services is providing better service to each community by decreasing emergency response times. In the first 30 days, the 911 Center dispatched 392 fire calls to Apex and 325 fire calls and 2,716 police calls to Morrisville. The 911 Center also processed another 1,322 emergency calls for Morrisville and 1,365 calls for Apex.
CAD 2 CAD Project
Since 2013, Cary has been working to enhance Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) interoperability with surrounding municipalities to reduce mutual aid first responder dispatch times between agencies. Without this interoperability, telecommunicators had to coordinate responses over the phone or radio with neighboring communication centers, slowing down incident response and leaving first responders with incomplete or incorrect information that increases risk to those in need of help and first responders as well. Solving this issue, however, is extraordinarily complex because of disparate systems, and a solution has taken years to come to fruition.
After several months of configuration and ongoing testing, Cary and Raleigh began sharing live data on June 4. This solution allows dissimilar CAD systems to communicate and share information. Information sharing such as requesting services from EMS calls for service within the Town of Cary are now directly shared from the Cary’s CAD to Raleigh’s CAD without the need for telecommunicators to reenter data into the separate CAD systems, decreasing dispatch time and potential for errors. Mutual Aid Requests for Fire Services are also being shared, decreasing the response time for those resources as well.
As of Monday, July 8, just 34 days after going live, Cary sent 1,432 EMS and Fire Mutual Aid calls for service to Raleigh via the CAD 2 CAD solution, and Raleigh sent 251 calls for service to Cary for Fire Mutual Aid requests. The CAD 2 CAD solution has greatly enhanced prompt services to both communities.
Focus on Jordan Lake
Cary recognizes the vital importance of Jordan Lake as a drinking water supply and is committed to proactive, science-based action to protect the lake’s water quality. Current programs include open space preservation, ordinances requiring 100-ft riparian stream buffers, a lake aeration system near the water supply intake, public education and outreach, and long-term water quality monitoring programs. This year, several regional and state initiatives are focusing further attention on Jordan Lake water quality issues and potential solutions.
Council Members Jack Smith and Jennifer Robinson, along with Environmental Advisory Board Chair Rick Savage, participated in a Jordan Lake environmental awareness boat tour on June 15. The tour was hosted by Clean Jordan Lake, a non-profit community organization focused on removing trash and debris from Jordan Lake’s shoreline. To date, Clean Jordan Lake efforts have removed more than 4,600 tires and 15,000 bags of trash from Jordan Lake.
The NC Policy Collaboratory, a university research partnership created and funded by the NC General Assembly, is writing its Jordan Lake Nutrient Management Study final report, which should be published in late 2019. The three year study involved extensive sampling and hydraulic profiling to identify primary nutrient sources and evaluate the reservoir’s vulnerability to eutrophication, the process by which a body of water becomes rich in dissolved nutrients that stimulate the growth of aquatic plant life, thereby depleting dissolved oxygen. The Collaboratory evaluated alternatives to mitigate the nutrient issues using both in-lake and watershed-level modeling.
As the NC Policy Collaboratory completes its work, another avenue of engagement will be Jordan Lake One Water (JLOW), a stakeholder association organized in 2017, with members from local governments, water utilities, conservation groups, universities, agriculture and private industry. JLOW’s advisory committee has developed a work plan to engage the state on revisions to the Jordan Lake Rules next year, and the Elected Officials Committee is meeting with the NC DEQ Secretary. Cary Council members and Utilities staff have participated in JLOW since its inception.
Two major water quality monitoring investigations, led by the State’s Division of Water Resources and the NC Policy Collaboratory, are underway in the wake of public concerns about emerging compounds like 1,4-dioxane and perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are a type of industrial products used in such products as fire-fighting foam, Scotchgard™ and Teflon™. Cary is leading the regional response to these concerns, testing water since 2017 for PFAS before and after treatment and continues engaging the regulatory community on this issue.
As EPA work continues toward providing guidance on appropriate standards for PFAS, the monitoring investigations are sampling multiple watersheds, including Jordan Lake, for over 50 known PFAS compounds. A network of researchers is also studying the presence of PFAS in landfill leachate, food, and particulate air emissions. The data collection efforts will help the state evaluate potential PFAS/1,4-dioxance source areas and potential monitoring requirements for water and wastewater treatment facilities.
Completion of Pressure Zone Modifications
Starting in May 2017, Cary embarked on a plan to further enhance the reliability and resiliency of the water distribution system by modifying the boundary between the western and central pressure zones. This change would help ensure successful operational activities, reduce service interruptions and create a more efficient system by establishing NC 55 as the definitive boundary between these zones. For the roughly 7,000 property owners in the corridor between NC 55 and Davis Drive, the change meant preparing for potential impacts to home plumbing from the increased pressure in the municipal lines. For citizens who had been there prior to 2005, it was also a return to the system pressures experienced when Cary operated under a single pressure zone.
On April 9, 2019, the operation was completed as the final neighborhoods east of NC 55 were returned to the central pressure zone. Overall, the modification included about a tenth of all water meters and could have physically been completed within a few days; however, the operation was phased over a two-year period to facilitate increased communication with citizens, more effectively address potential consequences, coordinate with school schedules, and avoid holidays and other community events.
In many ways, the Pressure Zone Modification epitomizes the changes occurring throughout Cary. The water system could have continued to operate as it was. Most communities grow and change without making such drastic modifications. Staff, however, had a vision to ensure a more resilient and reliable water system. While the operation encountered occasional minor setbacks, the goal of improving the water system for the community was never lost. As other capital projects are completed in the western pressure zone over the coming months, the full benefit of the pressure zone modifications will be experienced by citizens throughout the service area in the form of uninterrupted service of safe, high-quality water.
2019 Water Main Replacement Project
The annual water main replacement program proactively addresses water lines whose location, age and condition make them vulnerable to unexpected failure and costly repairs. The program enables the provision of reliable and sustainable water service to support not only existing neighborhoods but also future growth and expansion. This year’s project began along S Walker Street, one of the main thoroughfares in downtown (photo, page 49). It included installation of a new 16-inch ductile iron water main with an estimated service life of over 100 years. Continuing into the first quarter of FY 2020, the homes and businesses along S Walker Street and Byrum Street will have new water service lines and meter boxes installed. Once this area is completed, construction will begin along E Cornwall Road followed by portions of the Oakwood Heights and Walnut Hills subdivisions.
Town Council Tank Climb
The morning of April 20 started like many other Saturdays for four daring members of the Cary Town Council — a cup of coffee, perhaps a bite to eat and then out the door. But on this Saturday morning, Mayor Weinbrecht, Mayor Pro Tem Bush and Council Members Robinson and Frantz met at the Kilmayne Drive elevated water storage tank, the newest addition to Cary’s water infrastructure. This outing wasn’t an inspection to see what $4.8 million will buy. It was a climb to the top of the Kilmayne Tank to get a bird’s-eye view of Cary from 176.5 feet above the ground. The impact? “Awesome,” said one Council member. “A once in a lifetime opportunity,” commented the Mayor.
The event would not have been possible without the help of numerous staff members. Utilities staff, who managed the design and construction of the project and operates the tank, were on hand to showcase the new infrastructure and answer questions. The Fire Department provided equipment and know-how to get everyone up and back down safely. Others were there to pilot drones to document this unique experience. The willingness of staff to spend a morning of their Easter weekend making this unique experience possible is a testament to Council’s support of staff and the trusting relationship between them.
Holly Brook Water and Sewer Extension Project
On June 30, 2015, in accordance with Session Law 2015-77 and at the request of the residents, the Holly Brook subdivision was legislatively annexed into the Town of Cary. A subsequent petition submitted by a majority of property owners in the Holly Brook neighborhood requested Town water and sewer service. Council approved the extension of water and sewer infrastructure to the Holly Brook Subdivision providing availability for residents to connect to Town utilities. The water and sewer extensions provided the Holly Brook community with more than just unparalleled water quality and sewer service; they improved fire protection, reduced the price citizens were paying for private utility service and eliminated private septic tanks with individual
After installing 7,900 feet of water mains, 15 fire hydrants, 92 water connections, 5,400 feet of sewer mains and 90 sewer connections (and subsequently reconstructing the subdivision streets), the Holly Brook Water and Sewer Extension project is complete. The project endured the wettest year in recent history—two hurricanes and multiple snowstorms. It was completed in 13 months and under budget, saving approximately $1.3 million. With the addition of water and sewer, the Holly Brook community now enjoys the full complement of Cary services.
Directors Awards for Cary Water and Wastewater Facilities
Three of Cary’s outstanding water and wastewater treatment facilities received national awards during the June 2019 American Water Works Association Conference in Denver, Colorado. The Cary-Apex Water Treatment Facility received the Partnership for Safe Water Directors Award for Water Treatment. The Partnership for Safe Water is an alliance of six prestigious drinking water organizations with a mission to improve the quality of water delivered to customers by optimizing water system operations. The Directors Award is given to recognize a facility’s demonstrated commitment to providing drinking water of superior quality, going above and beyond regulatory requirements. Because of the facility staff’s ongoing commitment to provide drinking water of the highest quality, the Cary-Apex Water Treatment Facility has received this award fifteen years in a row.
The Partnership for Clean Water is a parallel program for wastewater and recognizes wastewater treatment facilities that operate with the highest efficiency, while protecting the environment and preserving the quality of water resources. Both the North Cary and Western Wake Regional Water Reclamation Facilities were part of the inaugural class of elite wastewater treatment facilities to receive the Partnership for Clean Water Directors Award. The North Cary facility, in fact, was the first wastewater treatment plant in the country to receive the award.
Jonathan Bulla from the North Cary Water Reclamation Facility and JD Arnold from the Cary-Apex Water Treatment Facility accepted these awards on behalf of the Town during the awards ceremony.
NC Area-Wide Optimization Program Award
In May, the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility (CAWTF) received its eighth NC Area-Wide Optimization Award for exceptional performance. The Area-Wide Optimization program was created in 2000 through a joint program between the EPA and the states to help drinking water systems meet successively more stringent regulations and achieve higher levels of drinking water quality. The annual award is given by the Public Water Supply Section of the NC Division of Water Resources to facilities that surpass federal and state drinking water standards, particularly with regards to turbidity, which is a measure of the cloudiness or haziness of water, caused by particles that can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. The CAWTF was among 57 drinking water treatment plants throughout the state honored with this award.
Annual Water Quality Report
The Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility released the 2018 Consumer Confidence Report in early May, timing the release to coincide with the annual American Water Works Association Drinking Water Week. This water quality report highlighted the results of over 50,000 tests conducted last year and showed, once again, that Cary’s water meets or exceeds all federal and state standards. The report also included an article on emerging contaminants and updates on ways Cary continues to make its water system more resilient and prepared to serve the community’s water needs well into the future.
Cary continues to advance its experience and expertise in drone technology. Cary currently has four federal and state certified drone pilots including Anthony Campbell, Transportation and Facilities, Kathryn Trogdon, Organizational Development, Jose Mendez, Fire, and Steve Rogers, Police. The team is collaboratively researching and developing ways the technology can improve safety and efficiency of Town operations. The Police Department purchased a drone for traffic scene reconstruction.
To further enhance their knowledge and expertise, Cary staff members are participating in beta testing of a UAS detection system that gives end users a low-cost solution to detect unwanted drones. The goal of the detection system is to increase situational awareness in North Carolina Prisons and local communities to detect nefarious drone flights. The study is funded through the National Science Foundation, and other participants are North Carolina Department of Public Safety and Clemson University. Cary will help test the system as part of the drone training program.
In May, a group of engaged employees moved the past year’s work on the Catalog further forward by organizing CUD Zoo Day, a fun event geared to realizing real Catalog engagement and overall awareness among staff. The day was named as a play on words with “kudzu”: that is,
CUD = Catalog Update Day and Zoo = organized chaos. Like kudzu, the Catalog began as a small seed of an effort that has since grown and spread to all parts of the organization. The Catalog represents sharing information, collaboration, and ultimately, decision-making.
The Catalog, created on the Salesforce platform, is the place where all work is captured, updated, and prioritized. Starting as an idea to compile all projects and services into one “list,” the Catalog has evolved to where it is today, with the goal of creating a “single source of truth” for all projects and services. An ever-evolving resource, on CUD Zoo Day, the Catalog featured 1,940 records and 350 users across all departments and work teams.
More than a dynamic database, the Catalog is a hub for collaboration, leading to better relationships and partnerships, data-driven decisions and the pursuit of actualizing the local government that doesn’t exist.
New Employee Orientation
The OneCary Signature Experience project team continues creating a remarkable onboarding experience for new colleagues, empowering them to excel to their highest potential through the understanding that leadership is required to reach the heights of local government excellence.
The newest Signature Experience project rollout this spring was a revamp of New Employee Orientation to Welcome the Best (our newest colleagues) with a remarkable, all-day experience. Based on extensive research of best practices for an experiential, informative and fun day, orientation activities included sessions on sharing Cary’s Story, a look at Our People, Our Culture and small-group discussions on How We Value You. The group was hosted for lunch at Fire Station 2 which was followed by an Around-Town Scavenger Hunt.