Extended UNCW police jurisdiction starts in September

Reported by Gavin Johnson - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email
Updated by Kristy Ondo - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - During Tuesday's Wilmington City Council meeting, members voted unanimously to expand the jurisdiction for UNCW Police officers to cover more neighborhoods.  Council members said the city has received several complaints from residents who live near the University regarding parties.

"There are a lot of people in the neighborhood," said Minnie Sheets, who lives in the area.  "Many college kids, it's gets loud from parties."

Council members say increasing the UNCW Police presence in the area could cut down on the noise.

"If they see a drunk driver, speeder or any kind of burglary going on in that jurisdiction they'll be able to act on it," said City Council Member Ronald Sparks.

Sparks said college students may fear the consequences from a campus police officer more so than from a Wilmington officer.

"I think it's the mind set this is their campus," said Sparks.  "And if campus police are involved that gives them more direct impact on their at UNCW as a student. Where as if they do something off campus, it doesn't always get back to the administration with what's on going with that particular student."

For residents like Sheets, it means officers will be able to respond to their calls more quickly.

"I've had to call the police before and it took several minutes for them to get here," said Sheets.  "Over several minutes. If they're already in my neighborhood it'll be quicker."

UNCW Police Chief David Donaldson said the new jurisdiction will go into effect in September.

Donaldson said campus police will not respond to calls and will not be patrolling any areas off campus.  He said if they're investigating a campus matter and see someone breaking the law, they will take action.

"I think there's not any question when you have more police officers who are authorize to take action," said Donaldson.  "There's a benefit to the community, and this is an opportunity for my officers to get to know the Wilmington Officers closely."

The area extended in the jurisdiction is bordered by Market Street, Eastwood Road, and Oleander Drive.

©2009 WECT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.