New emergency management director ready to make connections, serve community
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Pitt County’s new emergency management director said his first priority after taking office will be to get to know the public service agencies that work with his agency.
Randy Gentry, who currently serves as a chief deputy for the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, will replace Interim Emergency Management Director James McArthur starting on Monday.
“Initially, I’ll be spending time getting to know all of the community partners within the EMS and fire disciplines,” Gentry said. “That would be the first step, to try to get out and meet as many people as I can and to make sure we as a county department effectively communicate to all those members.”
Another goal is to consistently improve communication between agencies, he said.
“The previous emergency manager did a really good job in moving the communications forward between all the agencies,” he said. “I would like to continue that open communication and to help meet the needs of the first responder community in Pitt County.”
Gentry highlighted the importance of emergency management’s role in the community.
“It’s the central position to coordinate any all efforts to respond to an emergency or (work with agencies) after the emergency to make sure that all our needs are met at the community level,” he said.
“The department’s over the 911 center, EMS/rescue, the fire marshal responsibility as well as (handling) any emergencies and response for any natural or man-made disaster,” Gentry said. “I’m very excited about the opportunity and look forward to working with all those involved.”
Gentry also said his background as a first-responder in law enforcement has prepared him well for the new role.
“Just being a first-responder the number of years I’ve been in law enforcement is similar in nature,” Gentry said. “The public has a call for service, no matter what it is. As first responders, it’s your job to come with your training and experience and provide a solution for whatever the call may be.”
Gentry’s last day with the sheriff’s office is Friday and he said while he has enjoyed his time working with five different sheriffs, he is ready to move forward.
“It’s been very exciting, my time in law enforcement,” he said. “I’m leaving with mixed emotions but I’m also excited about the new opportunity and the new friends and partners that I’ll gain in the emergency management world.”
Pitt County Sheriff Paula Dance has not announced Gentry’s replacement on her command staff. However Gentry said he is making sure before he leaves his replacement will have the tools needed to get the job done.
“I’m just trying to make sure I’m leaving everything at the sheriff’s office in such a way that the things I’ve been in charge of will continue to move forward and (that) others have the information they need to continue business as usual,” he said.
Unlike previous emergency management directors, Gentry doesn’t have a fire-rescue background He said he will take courses and work alongside fire-rescue agencies to learn the ins and outs of the business.
“There will be a number of emergency management classes that I’ll need to take in the coming months and be aware,” Gentry said.
Gentry said he became interested in the emergency management role when he worked with former emergency management Director Allen Everett.
“In working with the previous emergency manager, I knew he was retiring and when the job posted, I took a look at it,” Gentry said. “Working in the past events over the years with Allen Everett kind of exposed me to that office and the things they did for the community. I thought it was a good opportunity for me to pursue.”
Gentry hopes citizens know they are in good hands under his leadership.
“They can continue to rely on the office of emergency management in Pitt County for prompt service. We’re there to meet the needs of the citizens,” Gentry said.