Wilmington police chief says department has suspended all drug testing

Chief Ralph Evangelous (Source: WECT)
Chief Ralph Evangelous (Source: WECT)
Updated: Feb. 5, 2019 at 6:55 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Chief Ralph Evangelous said Tuesday the Wilmington Police Department has suspended all drug testing after the firing of a forensic chemist late last month.

In an interview before Tuesday's Wilmington City Council meeting, Evangelous said the state is taking over any drug testing that needs to be done for WPD.

Assistant Chief Donny Williams said the department suspended drug testing on Feb. 1.

"We're not doing any drug testing, and we'll evaluate where we are once we get through this process with the (district attorney)," Evangelous said.

The New Hanover County District Attorney’s office is reviewing more than three years' worth of drug-related cases after William Peltzer — a forensic chemist who had been with WPD since August 2015 — was fired.

"William Peltzer was terminated on January 25th due to multiple departmental violations including: property and evidence control, member obligations, on-duty performance and standard of conduct,” WPD said in a news release last week.

Evangelous said the department is dealing with a paperwork issue, not a drug testing issue.

"There's certain procedures we follow that are involving paperwork and it appears some of that stuff wasn't proper," Evangelous said.

The chief said WPD is working closely with the DA's office on all the cases in question, and said he expects a statement from the DA once retesting is complete.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time,” Evangelous said.

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