Wilmington Police to spend thousands to evaluate K-9 unit

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Submitted: Tue, 03/11/2014 - 3:45pm
Updated: Tue, 03/11/2014 - 9:47pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wilmington Police Department will spend nearly $10,000 as it evaluates its canine program. Chief Ralph Evangelous promised the review earlier this year after an internal investigation into K9 officer Stafford Brister and his use of his dog on a chase suspect last fall.

WPD is bringing in an outside consultant and a WPD retiree, who the department says has expert credentials.

The department has contracted Dr. David J. Ferland, a retired police chief from Portsmouth, NH, as its consultant. Ferland has more than 15 years experience handling police canines. He worked as the Head Canine Trainer for the New Hampshire Police Canine Academy for 10 years and trained more than 110 dogs for police service. He is a nationally certified trainer and judge of police dogs.

Dr. Ferland will conduct a site visit at the end of this month to continue his evaluation the agency’s current canine program. Dr. Ferland is scheduled to submit a report at the end of his visit. The city will pay Ferland $7,700. This fee includes all expenses and follow-up consultation.

Former Wilmington Police Capt. Bruce Hickman, who once served as interim chief in 2004, will return to the department in a part-time position. Capt. Hickman, who retired from WPD in 2009, founded the agency’s canine program in 1982. He is also the founder of the United States Police Canine Association Region 2 Chapter, where he served for more than six years as president. Hickman has been hired as a temporary employee effective March 3. He will work up to 19 hours per week at $21 per hour. WPD says he will be updating policies and procedures.

In late January, Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous announced plans to review the canine unit.

“We think bringing in someone from outside the region that knows no one will be able to give us an honest objective look,” Evangelous said at a Jan. 30 news conferenece. “I think that’s important for the community to know that we are using best practices, and if we’re not, we’ll fix it.”

Evangelous said at the time the review will provide recommendations that will be shared with the public. Evangelous said the evaluation would determine if the department has the right number of dogs.


  • Vog46 says:

    In the private sector one guy would decide and then stand by that decision.
    Ah but to dream that this could happen in Wilmington Tom

    Just picture this:
    A television shot panning back, showing a pile of rubble where the parking deck USED to stand.

    Atop the pile of rubble stands a single man facing into a breeze – well coiffed hair blown back like it is styled that way. Red cape flowing out from his neck in the breeze – American flag in the back ground, waving majestically. Pan in closer to see a red “S” on this mans chest, a nice tan and steely eyes.
    Why look – it’s Mayor “S”Affo (see not for Superman but for Saffo) !!!
    He looks into the camera and says “I decided – I gave the order – I took responsibility. Good or bad I made the decision.” Fade out as the Star Spangled Banner reaches it’s crescendo………..

    Oh sorry, wait……….I think I forgot my meds this morning.(I MUST be dreaming)
    Gotta go


  • SurfCityTom says:

    for 1 study.

    $100,000 or more for another study.

    all the money lost on those ill conceived real estate transactions for the parking deck and the hotel site.

    the study on what to do with the parking deck.

    In the private sector, the need for all of these studies by management would lead to new management.

  • MG says:

    This is the kind of thing that drives me crazy about any government entity. Spend $10,000 to study or evaluate something?

    Whatever happened to common sense? The same thing could have probably been accomplished by the chief making a few phone calls to other police departments.

  • Jim Irwin says:

    I think having Bruce Hickman come in as an expert is a great idea,this mans reputation is over the top. He started the K9 unit in the Wilmington PD back in the early 80s .He is a man of great honor and if anyone can fix the problem (if there is one)he is the man to do it As a tax payer I say its money well spent. People forget when were home sleeping,these K9 officers are protecting us.

  • Vog46 says:

    Another STUDY………..

    If they’re studying this much, when’s the test?


  • guest69696969 says:

    The city will pay Ferland $7,700. This fee includes all expenses and follow-up consultation.

    I’ll do this for, 1500.00, and a good supply of Meat stick(s) slim-jims, results Guaranteed…
    ALERTS on every Car suspected/inspected…

  • Brooke Hickman says:

    I agree with you 100%. I have known Bruce my entire life and he has always worked to keep this community safe. People may think I am being bias, but Bruce was raised by a man who also took his civil duty very seriously and instilled his values into all of his children. His ability with dogs is that like nothing I have ever seen and I honestly cannot remember a time when he was not training them. He is the right man for the job.

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