WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - WPD Interim Chief Donnie Williams announced Tuesday morning that the newly-formed Community Compliance Unit will help enforce stay-at-home orders from the state, county, and city.
According to Williams, it’s made up of one sergeant and four officers who will patrol the city to ensure businesses and the public are following the guidelines for the stay-at-home order.
“They will have the task of going around, checking with businesses, making sure they have the appropriate measures in place, ensure social distancing, following up with citizen complaints, and education," said Williams. “We want to work with our businesses to make sure everyone is in compliance because at the end of the day, it’s all about the health and safety of our citizens and the public."
Unit officers will work closely with the city’s legal department investigating complaints assigned through the 911 Center.
“Something’s that going on today could change again tomorrow so right now, it’s just an education time thing making sure everyone is staying in compliance with the orders and pretty much doing what they’re supposed to be doing," said Corporal Ron Evans with the Wilmington Police Department’s Community Compliance Unit.
There will be no curfew and officers will not be pulling over drivers to ask where they are going. WPD tweeted Monday night, explaining what citizens should and should not be doing.
“We are not going to be going out and violating people’s rights," said Corporal Evans. "I cannot stop a car simply because they’re out driving out and not being in compliance with the stay at home order.”
“Our officers will not be stopping people just because they’re outside," said Williams. “I want to be clear on this, if we see criminal activity, we will continue to take action upon that. But we’re not setting up checkpoints; there are no curfews. We want people to try to live as normal lives as they can.”
For the last week and a half, WPD had one officer taking up the task of ensuring businesses were doing what they were supposed to be doing, but Williams said they needed more hands on deck once the stay at home order went into effect Monday evening.
“We started seeing more citizen complaints and we just did not want to overwhelm our patrol officers because we still have other services we’re trying to provide to our citizens and visitors," said Williams.
WPD is working alongside several agencies to help make sure the community follows the order.
“We’re in this thing together, not just the sheriff, but the district attorney, our partners in Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, highway patrol," said Williams. "We’ve had conversations with all of the agencies about us being in this thing together.”
The unit will also answer to citizen complaints. Since the announcement of the stay at home order by Governor Cooper, WPD has gotten an influx of calls.
You’re ask to call 910-343-3600 if you have a complaint of someone not following the order.
“This is about everyone’s health and safety," said Williams. "Just common sense practices: the six-foot rule and washing your hands. You can’t do that enough.”
The City of Wilmington is going to launch a question and answer portal