Fairmont safety chief investigated

First Posted: 6/4/2014

FAIRMONT — The State Bureau of Investigation has opened an investigation into the head of Fairmont’s Department of Public Safety, saying he may have misused money from South Robeson Rescue, where he previously served as the commander.

Chief Danny Parker is the sole subject of the investigation at this point, an SBI spokesperson said. The SBI is investigating the case at the request of the Robeson County District Attorney’s Office.

Parker declined to comment for this story when contacted this morning.

Erich Hackney, an investigator with the District Attorney’s Office, began looking into the rescue squad’s finances on April 21 and on May 8, the case was turned over to the SBI. Hackney declined to say how his office became aware of the alleged misuse of funds.

Hackney did not have an estimate on how much money might be involved.

“Depending on how far [the SBI goes] back and if in fact there is misuse, the amount could be substantial,” Hackney said.

Hackney said some bank records he reviewed were “very questionable.”

“The allegations are there was misuse of not only the funds in the rescue unit but also financial card usage for purchases that are not rescue-related,” he said.

Fairmont’s town attorney, Rob Price, said the town has not been officially notified of the investigation but that rumors had been circulating. Parker’s employment status with the town has not changed.

Parker was named the head of Fairmont’s Department of Public Safety in 2010 when he stepped down as commander of the South Robeson Rescue Unit. He began his career in public safety in 1991 with the rescue unit, and continues to volunteer there.

As the head of Public Safety, Parker is essentially in charge of the police and fire departments.

The South Robeson Rescue Unit is a mostly volunteer organization that is located at 1001 S. Walnut St. in Fairmont. The Robesonian attempted to conract officials with the unit but was unsuccessful. One number the newspaper found on its Facebook page was no longer in service, and no one answered a second number that the newspaper found.