WPD proposes preemptive police force


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Crime in Wilmington is down from 2004 to 2012, but police say there is still a need for an increased force focusing on fighting crime before it happens. Wilmington’s police chief proposed a new approach to City Council this morning.

Chief Ralph Evangelous says he wants a special force made up of seven existing officers and five new officers to focus on things like surveillance and gathering information. The Mobile Field Force would be divided into two teams. One team would be dedicated to undercover assignments. Evangelous says it is important to detect suspicious behavior before criminals strike.

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“Merely preventing the crime only displaces it, because when you have evil intentions, you are going to commit evil acts,” Evangelous said. “We need to take those people off the street and incarcerate them.”

The Thalian Association felt the effects of violent crime after the murder of employee Joshua Proutey last month. The 19-year-old Cape Fear Community College student was shot and killed after leaving work at the Community Arts Center downtown.

“Anything that the police chief does and the City of Wilmington does to increase our police protection I think will make the citizens much more comfortable,” Thalian Association Managing Director Susan Habas said.

The mobile field force would cost an estimated $465,000. About $260,000 would pay for for additional officers. The other $205,000 would buy unmarked vehicles.

Habas says when it comes to safety, money should not be an issue.

“Safety for our residents and citizens should be everyone’s number one concern, number one priority,” she said.

City Council will consider the chief’s proposal at its meeting tomorrow night.