UPDATE: City Council approves funds to expand WPD community policing
Wilmington's police chief is looking to expand community policing in the city of Wilmington.
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -
Wilmington City Council met Tuesday night to vote on several issues, including voting to approve funds for expanding Wilmington Police community policing.
Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous asked Wilmington City Council to consider supporting a resolution allowing the department to apply for a COPS grant that would provide eight new officers to help with community policing. Council voted unanimously to support WPD's application for a $1.2M COPS grant.
The grant allows Chief Evangelous to expand the community policing program by adding more foot and bike patrols in areas in need. Council may have to pay approximately $300,000 as a match if WPD is awarded the grant.
Community policing is a strategy used where officers are instructed to be active and patrol on foot in neighborhoods.
According to the City Council agenda, the grant could be up to $1,221,605 and would also require a 25 percent match ($305,401) from the city. Evangelous said the added law enforcement the grant would provide would be a big benefit to the department.
"This is an effort to expand what we're doing presently, but we're going to need additional personnel to do that. We're seeing foot beats in neighborhoods now. We've got bicycle patrols," explained Evangelous.
Evangelous said that the downtown district has recently seen a sharp drop in crime due to the level of enforcement being provided. Now he wants to see that kind of progress across Wilmington.
"Staffing levels in the downtown district far exceed anywhere else in the city, and we need to be looking at the rest of the city and see how we can provide that level of police service throughout the city," Evangelous explained.