Top aide named Morganton public safety chief

03/05/2014 12:15 PM

03/05/2014 2:03 PM

Ronnie Rector, a 20-year Morganton public safety veteran, has been named chief of the city’s police and fire departments.

Rector was among two finalists for the job, a city spokesman said. He replaces Mark Tolbert, who retired Jan. 1 after 30 years as chief.

“Ronnie brings the ability to take over the fire command on Day 1, and his knowledge about Morganton and our community was a definite benefit,” said City Manager Sally Sandy.

The public safety department handles both police and fire responsibilities in Morganton.

Rector is a Burke County native who grew up in Valdese and graduated from East Burke High School and Lenoir-Rhyne University, where he earned a bachelors degree in business administration.

Rector worked for five years in the textile industry but left in 1993. “I decided that to be happy, I would need to find a career that I could be passionate about, a job that meant something to me,” he said.

Rector completed law enforcement training at Western Piedmont Community College and was hired by Morganton as a public safety officer in 1994. He has held a number of supervisory positions since then.

“It’s my goal to continue the good work that Chief Tolbert brought to the city, but I hope to also find ways to improve the department,” he said.

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