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Part-time officer who left in ‘14 returns to Perryville force

Perryville’s mayor has pulled the trigger on hiring a part-time police officer to serve as a back-up to Police Chief Parker Hatter. Larry Nunes will begin working Wednesday night.

“He’s been our part-time police officer before,” Mayor Anne Sleet said.

Nunes worked with the former chief, Charlie Parks, but both resigned in 2014. At the time, it was reported there was a scheduling dispute with the mayor. However, a letter received by The Advocate-Messenger in May from Nunes stated he resigned due to moving out of state, not to due to a conflict with the city.

“I think he’ll do OK, and he’ll be good for our city. He’s part of our community. People don’t like it sometimes when they’re stopped,” Sleet said, referring to being pulled over by a police officer. “He’s retired, and this is his passion. He wasn’t doing anything and wanted to get back into the workforce by pursuing his passion. And he’s flexible to work when Parker is off.”

Chief Hatter said bringing Nunes on was a mutual decision.

“The mayor was 100-percent certain about him, so if she was, I am.”

Hatter said he was flattered when some on the council previously objected to hiring a part-time officer instead of giving Hatter a raise.

“I told the council, ‘I appreciate you guys wanting to do that.’ It really meant a lot to me that they were willing to pay me more, but we still only get 40-hours-a-week coverage,” Hatter said.

He thinks it’s more beneficial to the city — and to himself as chief — to have a part-time person help expand coverage.

“They agreed with me when we discussed it,” Hatter said of the council members who had proposed a raise.

The plan is to get around 25 hours a week out of Nunes, who will work evenings when Hatter is due to be off the clock. He will be paid $10 an hour — the amount he requested, Hatter said.

“From what I understand, he was moving back to California — where he’s from — when he left here. He’s been back about a year,” Hatter said.

He said he realizes some are concerned about his patrol techniques.

“He worked in California for years and traffic stops seem to be what he does and what his passion is — speeding citations, no seat-belts, etc. I think when it’s a small town, that kind of patrol may be seen as disruptive to the flow and the way things are going,” Hatter said.

But he’s taken a look over all of Nunes’ citations from the past, and he said he saw no problems.

Hatter said Nunes used to be a swat team commander. “He has a very good background as far as training, pretty squared away when it comes to some things.”

“As police officers, we each have our own style. Some will stop you for 5 (miles per hour) over, some for 10. Larry is by the book; if you’re speeding, you’re speeding and he’ll write a ticket.”

Maor Sleet seemed to second that notion, saying,”Some people just get upset when they are pulled over. It’s just how it is.”

Hatter said it will be nice, now, to get to go home and “actually put my feet up. I’m on call 24/7 for whenever the sheriff’s office can’t make it to something, so just the peace of mind and ability to relax from time to time will be nice.”

Sure, Hatter said — he anticipates a few complaints, but that’s kind of par for the course.

“I’m sure there will be some. But it will also help me to expand my title of being a chief — I’ve only been a ‘chief’ to myself. It will make the department work a bit better, and help me to grow and learn, too. That’s a benefit.”

Nunes was contacted for comment.

“All I would say is that I’m happy to be back on the department and serve the people of Perryville.”