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WPD asks city to fund Gang Investigative Unit

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- With a continuing gang problem in Wilmington, police want City Council to fund officers designated to deal with the problem.

At their meeting Tuesday night City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on a request from the Wilmington Police Department to create a Gang Investigative Unit. According to the proposal, it would include a sergeant, four officers and a civilian computer support specialist.

"The Gang Investigative Unit will be dedicated to proactive criminal enforcement, through surveillance, long term investigations, and use of informants in an effort to diminish gang associated crimes throughout the city," the proposal says. "The Unit will also provide expertise support and training to other investigative units within the department, and provide support to other allied agencies within the county, and at state and federal levels. One of the most important benefits of having the Gang Investigative Unit is that it will support the Department's goal to reduce crime and fear of crime in our City."

Police would staff the gang unit by reassigning current employees.

WPD is also asking for 10 over hire positions. City spokeswoman Malissa Talbert says those are people trained to be ready when positions are open.

The plan would cost $142,381 for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends in June. Talbert says it would not cost any extra money this year, because it would use salary savings from open positions. She says the unit would have to go through the budgeting process for the next fiscal year, though.

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