DAYTON — Dayton Town Council bid farewell to two of its most important staff members on Monday night, in a meeting fraught with change.
Joe Paxton, interim town superintendent, and Daniel Hanlon, Dayton police chief, will be stepping down before council’s next meeting.
Paxton will be replaced by Angela A. Lawrence on July 8, while Hanlon’s position will be taken over by Lt. Justin Trout on Saturday.
The town will hold a reception at the town hall on Friday between 1 and 3 p.m. to see Hanlon off.
Trout presented Hanlon with a shadowbox containing a variety of Hanlon’s previous badges at Monday night’s meeting.
The police department also welcomed Travis “T.J.” Hooker to the force at the meeting, bringing the town’s police force to full strength, until Friday when Hanlon departs.
“Knowing that one — this is God’s country, and serving these types of folks, I can’t ask for more,” Hooker said.
Hooker has more than 11 years of police experience and worked with Trout in law enforcement in Virginia Beach in the past.
Council also passed two ordinances during the meeting.
The first was an annual update to bring the town in compliance with all laws passed in the most recent General Assembly session and is “perfunctory,” Paxton said.
The updates would take effect on July 1, the same day as the laws approved by the General Assembly.
The other ordinance passed was the introduction of a $5 fee for traffic and criminal offenses that Dayton police write up. Many other police departments, including Harrisonburg and Bridgewater, among others, have passed similar codes, Paxton said.
The funds raised from the tickets will go toward maintenance of the town’s new electronic system, which improves officer safety and department efficiency, Trout said.
The system works by allowing officers to look up information in their cars, instead of having to contact dispatch.
For instance, on Monday, Trout had a stolen car from Washington, D.C., and had to call in to dispatch to run the plates.
“If I was able to type in [the information] myself, it would have sent me an automatic hit that it was a stolen vehicle,” he said.
The system also includes GPS location of officers.
“If an officer is in trouble and they’re not answering their radio, we’re able to pull up on the computer where their location is on a map and respond to help,” Trout said.
The introduction the $5 fee will not change the behavior of the department, he said.
“The goal is not to raise the funding to pay for the service,” Trout said. “Obviously, we’re not going to just go out and write tickets to make the money.”
According to the ordinance, the money generated from the fee can only be used for the maintenance of the electronic system, and not be spent on other town expenses.
“We’re not in the business of arresting and writing tickets to generate revenue,” Trout said.
Though the town was able to take action on the previous two ordinances, council was unable to take action on the town’s charter amendments, due to state law.
Virginia law requires charter amendments to be posted to the public and requires a public hearing before council can approve the changes.
Charter amendments include giving clarity of the powers that the council has, and streamlining processes.
As well, the amendments would change the names of several positions to their mainstream names, such as town superintendent to town manager.
Paxton hopes to have it on the town’s website by the end of the week, he said. And though his time as town superintendent is coming to a close, he’s not done yet, as he will stay on until the day before the next Town Council meeting.
“It’s been fun working to get back into government management again, especially with people who care about their community as much as these folks do,” Paxton said.