ONLY ON 3: Short staffing means OT piling up for WPD

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Submitted: Fri, 08/02/2013 - 3:55am
Updated: Fri, 08/02/2013 - 2:31pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wilmington Police Department needs more officers. In the meantime, current officers are stepping up and working longer hours than usual. That has some short on patience.

Last month we told you about an unofficial survey showing low morale in the police department. We dug deeper and found WPD is short 21 officers and has been asking and sometimes forcing current officers to work overtime to pick up the slack.

We found dozens of e-mails since January asking Wilmington Police officers to volunteer for overtime shifts. We even found e-mails saying it would be mandatory for officers to take the extra shifts.

In an e-mail to Chief Ralph Evangelous, one officer wrote, “What scares me, is that the officers are doing everything they can, just to keep up with the calls for service. Stress levels are high and most are so exhausted, it’s hard to have family time when you get off.”

Wilmington Police spokeswoman Linda Rawley says it’s impossible to please everyone.

“Any time you have this many employees, you’re going to have complaints,” Rawley said. “I don’t care if you had them work just the 40 hours, and I’m being very honest.”

Rawley says it is not an easy process hiring new officers. She says it can take up to four months.

“This is a really, really tedious job. It takes a lot of responsibility, and we have to make sure we have the right people in those positions,” Rawley said.

She says the department recently swore in eight new officers, but e-mails show WPD is still struggling to fill open shifts, and the excess overtime is costing extra money. Rawley says the police department budgeted a little more than $1 million for overtime for fiscal year that ended a month ago. She says they went over budget by a little more than $200,000.

“It’s not unusual for an agency to go over budget,” Rawley said. “I think if we went under budget that would be very unusual for us.”

Rawley says the department has budgeted a little less than $1.2 million in overtime for this fiscal year. She says the department in in the process of hiring new officers.

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25 Comments on "ONLY ON 3: Short staffing means OT piling up for WPD"

Guest Reply Redux
2015 years 8 months ago

Quote: “Rawley says it is not an easy process hiring new officers. She says it can take up to four months” (Unquote)

Hey Rawley…we know a pizza delivery guy that’s dying to become a WPD Officer. He has been to the police academy (training/etc.) and was told by the WPD that the quota of hiring ethnic/race groups had to be balanced.
And the shootings continue on 10th Street and whatever.
Keep pinching the pocketbooks and you’ll pay for it dearly in overtime pay and fatigue, which creates morale issues. Wasn’t there a story on morale issues within the WPD? Oh yes…last month:
Smarten Up!

2015 years 8 months ago

Declining pay when adjusted for inflation. Pay that is 10k less than other Major North Carolina cities that often have lower crime rates. No cost of living adjustments in years. A promotion system that is not transparent, that many believe is not fair. Management that is the product of that opaque promotion system, resulting in a lack of trust between the rank and file and the senior personnel.

A high rate of turn over, particularly young, college educated officers.

2015 years 8 months ago

Once hired, the new officer cannot be just turned loose on the street. A period of field training and evaluation has to occur to see if the rookie is suited for this type of job and if he/she can apply all the training that was given in BLET. Some won’t make it and some will excel. Those crying about doing away with the unmarked vehicles and putting everyone back in uniform haven’t got a clue about law enforcement. Get the department up to full strength and you will have the uniform cars giving the visibility needed to help discourage the riff-raff but a certain amount of “stealth” is required to catch the bad guys. If they see you coming, it is like squeezing a balloon—they just go somewhere out of sight.
Do intensive background investigation, commit to extensive, practical training, and promote the type of behavior that your departmental objectives calls for and you will be on your way to a first rate agency.

2015 years 8 months ago

“It’s not unusual for an agency to go over budget”? Where is the accountability? They should be more judicious with the public funds. Does the police department really need a spokeswoman? Maybe they could ease the burden of the officers if they put her to work in the streets. Her blase attitude towards the low morale of the department is deplorable. Police officers work a high stress job. The job is thankless enough without a desk jockey discounting their complaints. How many holidays does she work? How many hours does she work? Does she work overtime to help ease the burden on the officers? How much time does she sacrifice from her family? Unless she is walking in their shoes, she should not dismiss their complaints.

2015 years 8 months ago

It was reported that fast food workers want 15 an hr , thats what I am talking about.

2015 years 8 months ago

some search for possible solutions. Others, such as yourself, look for negatives to down any plan for action.

You know so much, let’s hear your solution.

2015 years 8 months ago

Rawley needs to get her fat butt off the chair and on the street. The reason there are problems at WPD are personnel exactly like her who think they are too important to hit the street. Heck, what does she do other than say every company has morale problems. You have morale problems when management forgets where they came from, who they serve and cops an elitist attitude. In fact it would not hurt to put management on the street, no rank and answer calls for service, patrol just like those who they used to be.

2015 years 8 months ago

I don’t think she is a sworn officer but just a mouth piece for the department. The chief knows what officers need to be removed but he appears to spineless to do it. There have been policy violations that could be used to justify the firings but then he would have to admit there are more problems in the department.

2015 years 8 months ago

Why would anyone in their right mind do this job for 33k a year. That’s the same salary the fast food workers want!!!!!

2015 years 8 months ago

Not only that…but officers with around 10 years on only make $40,000. Guys with 25 years on only make around $55,000. And that’s before $6000 comes out every year for family medical/dental/vision premiums, plus all the other deductions. $40,000 a year ends up being more like $25,000 a year in take-home pay.

And the city tries every year to make this worse, not better. They give $1 raises or less once every few years that are a slap in the face. Meanwhile insurance premiums have increased over 300% in the last 5 years, and the city hasn’t helped a bit.

In many other states an officer with 10 years on will be making $80,000+.

WPDs best officers are leaving as fast as they can. Only the chaff and the ones that are stuck because of their circumstances will stay. It’s not WPD’s fault or the chief’s fault, it is the City Council’s fault. They refuse to pay their officers a good salary and do nothing to try to keep the good officers from leaving. WPD has always been seen as a stepping stone for experience to go to other places. Is that what the citizens deserve? Or do they deserve a police force where people want to come and stay until they retire? Great officers who see WPD as a final goal and not a stepping stone? And maybe if the best ones actually stayed there wouldn’t be so many idiots available to be promoted.

The article talks about the 20 odd openings at the moment, but it does not talk about the other 20+ odd that are actively seeking a new job because of how the city treats them. And I mean they are some of the best officers in the entire department, the ones that do most of the work in all the divisions. You get what you pay for. And when your best officers are getting out as fast as they can….

It’s too late for many of us. There is absolutely nothing the city could realistically do to keep me from leaving at this point. But if the city doesn’t change its priorities it will always be seen as a means to an end for most officers and not a place that the best officers will want to stay at. And the ones that ultimately hurts is its citizens.

2015 years 8 months ago

33k is almost 16 per hour. Don’t no many line staff at fast food making this. Not sure what you are talking about.

karl bailey
2015 years 8 months ago

yes we need another officer for downtown to help the drunk females to their cars, that way keep them safe but. what about the safe drivers .

2015 years 8 months ago

I have a suggestion for you before you hire a bunch of new officers, start by using the resources you have, first off do away with all unmarked and dark window cars, put all officers in a clearly marked patrol car and an instantly recognized standard uniform, this would go a lot further toward deterring crime if the bad guy saw and recognized police officers and what a huge number of them this state already employs, also stagger their breaks so that you don’t have the entire force eating at the same time, we already have more than adequate manpower in this state, we just need to use them more wisely.

2015 years 8 months ago

But it will be ignored. Police and fire depts are all about one thing, using every dollar of their budget then whining they don’t have enough money. The volunteer fire dept nearby has 10 shiny new trucks and the “boys” just hang out all day and burn fuel joyriding them around, they only go on 1 legitmate call a month, the rest is just riding their relatives around on the county fuel bill. Same with police, they refuse to live within a budget and constantly threaten the citizenry with chaos if they don’t get more tax dollars, but half the time the cop car is parked in front of the Waffle House or Dunkin Donuts. And the unmarked cars is BS, what good is a cop if you need one and don’t know where they are because they are running around in a blacked out Tahoe. People need to realize the waste fraud and abuse that goes on in these depts.

2015 years 8 months ago

We want increased presence down town.
Increased presence in Sect 8 areas.
We want drunk drivers off the road.

Then when we have all those officers

We want increased penalties for drug traffickers in court.
Increased penalties for repeat felonies.
Increased penalties for pedophile Christians and lay people alike.
Increased penalties for repeat drunk rivers.

Hire more officers, give out stiffer sentences we’ll need more prisons and corrections officers resulting in higher state costs as well!
Are we ready for this?

Oh wait – we’ll cal them fee’s so that McLiar and Legislators won’t be accused of busting the budget

Just like the Dems did.


2015 years 8 months ago

Put the prisoners to work. Why are we paying over 1MM for landscaping at the govs mansion when Central prison, only a few blocks away, is full of free employees?

Take away the cable TV.

Take away the exercise yards.

Eliminate education from prison. It is ludicrous to force taxpayers to pay for the education of criminals! That isn’t “rehabilitation”, that’s wasting money. Nobody gave me a free education and I’ve never committed a crime.

Shorten and limit the appeals process. Convicted death row inmates average 14+ years from conviction to execution. Take that down to 1 year and be done with it. You get one appeal and one year to do it, otherwise get your arm ready.

Put the prisoners to work making the materials it takes to build the new prisons. They can pave roads, maintain gov’t facilites, maintain gov’t vehicles, etc. USE the resources you have and stop wasting money!

We have a resource of millions of people that do nothing but lay on their butts watching TV and figuring out which crime to commit first on their next release. If we start thinking outside this insidious box the government has built, it is amazing how much funding will appear!

Start imposing REAL sentences and consequences! When the prisoners realize it’s not good and it’s not fun in there, they won’t want to come back! Model the prisons facilities after what they use in Mexico or Bolivia, shy on conveniences, high on vermin population. Stone walls without paint, one 40 watt light bulb per cell. How does that sound for a place to spend the rest of your life? These country club facilites are rediculous, yet enticing for the “experienced” ones! This methodology is essential and the best crime deterrant there is. Nobody wants to approach that though. It will cut into the attorney fees, fines and the need for so many judges. Drats…always something.

We very well know that what we have and how we do it does not work. This is a best case example of “frustration”: Doing the same things, using the same methods you’ve always used and “expecting” different results.

Guest Observer
2015 years 8 months ago

The city would not have this problem if they didn’t spend 250m on
lobbying and consulting fees and studies for a single A baseball
stadium that our illustrious mayor tried to ram down the taxpayers
throats. He’s a big dem by the VOG.

2015 years 8 months ago

why not borrow a few Deputies from the Sheriff’s office and let them man some of the less troublesome areas so the city officers can focus on the trouble spots. That could open up some family time for the city officers.


Turn the big cats, from Treblenko’s Zoo, loose and allow them to patrol the downtown area. Maybe 1/2 hour after closing until 1/2 hour before retail shops open in the AM.


Let the Mayor & City Council do ride alongs; they could use their heightened negotiating skills to defuse trouble issues.

2015 years 8 months ago

Every time you turn around and you want to feed undesirables to the big cats. They may be eating so much they ‘ll become obese and die.
(you could get charged with cruelty to animals)


2015 years 8 months ago

WPD is already borrowing deputies to help patrol the city. There are several deputies who are currently assigned to WPD’s Downtown unit.

Yes, the Sheriff’s Department has jurisdiction anywhere in the county, so yes, deputies can respond to any call, regardless of where it’s located. But don’t forget that the deputies are already responsible for patrolling a HUGE amount of New Hanover County. I don’t think robbing Peter to pay Paul is the smartest move.

Additionally, the Sheriff’s Department typically operates it’s patrol squads with shortages, just like WPD has to. During the summer, this condition is eased a bit because those deputies assigned as SRO’s in the public schools work some patrol shifts while school is out of session. Deputies also have to sign up for extra shifts during the summer months for Fri and Sat nights in Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and other locations. That stops when school resumes and/or summer ends, leaving not nearly enough deputies available to fully cover all of their county jurisdiction. A shortage of law enforcement officers is NOT a problem that is exclusive to only WPD.

2015 years 8 months ago

get off the miami vice and hit the streets

2015 years 8 months ago

sadly, they make sense so you can count on the City ignoring them.

2015 years 8 months ago

The jail falls under the county not the city. The courts and jails are the responsibility of that county’s sheriff.

The city council and police department have no say so over the operations of the jail.

2015 years 8 months ago

If we take away the good stuff and make them work, it is cruel and unusual punishment. Heaven forbid they have to live like the average, law-abiding citizen.

2015 years 8 months ago

PAY POLICE AND FIRFIGHTERS a salary they can live off of comfortably and we wouldnt have this problem. I was a FF for 10 years for the city of Wilm, and left realiezing I would be making chump-change for the rest of my life.
THAT SUCS – Beacuse thats what I was born to do.