July 07--When he worked at Wilmington Police Department, Renaldo Prince was responsible for 14.5 square miles of city, 52 officers and 33,000 residents.
Now that Prince has moved to Richlands to be the new police chief at Albert J. Ellis Airport, things are a little different.
"Here at the airport, I've got six officers who answer to me and roughly a mile and quarter worth of runway and buildings," Prince said. "It's a challenge and I'm looking forward to it. I'm ready."
First on Prince's list of things to do is to continue reading and catching up on local policies.
"Number one for me right now is to learn all the new processes, such as TSA procedures and their guidelines," Prince said. "There are a few things I think we need to change internally, mostly policies and procedures. They just need a little update. In order to protect our organization, officers, administration and staff, you have to have good policies. If not, you are opening yourself up for liability and civil lawsuits somewhere down the line."
With 25 years of law enforcement supervisory and administration skills behind him, along with a career's worth of active duty experience in the Air Force Reserve with a specialization in aircraft operation and flightline security, Prince said he feels like he is ready to tackle his new leadership role.
"From the time I was 18 up to this point, I feel as if I've been unknowingly developing myself for this particular position," Prince said.
Prince also has background at the FBI National Academy, where he took courses in psychology, conflict resolution, statement analysis, analysis of verbal-nonverbal and micro-facial features, stress management and physical training. He also successfully completed the North Carolina State Administrative Officers Program.
The next biggest upcoming challenge will follow the upcoming completion of a second terminal, Prince said.
"Our old protocols probably won't work smoothly in the new airport," Prince said. "We are going to have to set new ones up, develop the guidelines that we are going to operate by, then tweak it. It's not going to just snap into place. We've got a lot of work in that aspect; a lot."
Construction on the new terminal is estimated to be finished next summer. A significant milestone, the top of the building, is scheduled to be completed Thursday, marking the halfway point in construction, according to Prince.
"This airport is like a very small town of its own, geared toward making a profit," Prince said. "It has many different pieces that have to come together and operate under the direction of the airport director, Chris White, in order for it to function. We all have to work together."
Prince's first day on the job was June 23, but until now, his duties mostly entailed processing and orientation.
"I'm happy to be here," Prince said. "I'm dedicated toward service of the community and providing people with a safe environment to enjoy their travels. I can be easily reached, just call the airport and ask for me if there is a question."
To reach Prince, call the airport at 910-324-1100.
Copyright 2014 - The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C.