LELAND, N.C. (WECT) - Leland first responders have released a five year public safety plan to inform town council and community members about how they plan to keep the town safe as the population rises.
In the police department’s portion of the strategic plan, they outline the need for more officers.
The plan states that Leland’s current population is at 24,385, which would calculate to a need of about 52 full-time sworn officers. The document states the town currently has 40 full-time officers, and 5 part-time officers, equating to 42.5 full time officers.
“The plan is a draft plan, it is subject to change. We’re looking at a five year plan to add personnel to our department to help with growth. As the community continues to grow, people are going to continue to move into Leland. We’re also taking into account with adding those personnel where those resources would be best utilized at in order to meet the needs of the community,” said Lt. Jeremy Humphries.
The plan also takes into account the additional equipment and vehicles needed when adding officers to the force.
Humphries said the department is also looking to add support services to increase community outreach and interaction.
"Having that constant engagement in the community to bring that information back and share it with our investigators and with our patrol staff, so we can take and tailor what their needs are so we can be more proactive as opposed to being reactive as things change in the community,” Lt. Humphries said.
Humpries emphasized the plan will change as the population does.
“That allows us to adjust that as needed so that we best utilize our resources and make good decisions of how we take and spend taxpayer money to make sure we put our organization in line to meet the needs of the community and not exceed that,” he said.
Plans are already underway to expand the Leland Fire Department in order to cut down response times in order to answer medical calls faster.
Currently, Leland Fire officials say they can respond anywhere in the town within 13 minutes from their two stations. They are looking to cut that response time to seven minutes by adding a third station.
“This current budget year we’ve already approved a new fire engine and we’re in the process now for a new station in the Brunswick Forest area. That will help cover the larger majority of our calls that we’re now having to travel to be able to get to but the plan actually develops us into a four or five year idea and it gives our employees, it gives our citizens, it gives our council kind of a road map to be able to look at where we’re headed with that project,” said Chief John Grimes.
Chief Grimes said their goal is to have the Brunswick Forest station operational by Fall 2020.
He emphasized the plan will be a living, breathing document and will change depending on growth and development.
Grimes also talked about the importance of decreasing response times for medical calls.
“Time is heart muscle. As our community is growing our citizens are primarily retirees that are coming in and with that comes certain medical problems that come with age so we want to be where we can respond to those needs in an appropriate amount of time,” the Chief said.