ONLY ON 3: City Manager explains why Department of Justice came to Port City and issues at WPD


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — In the last several months the Wilmington Police Department has seen low morale, problems in the K9 unit, and several SBI investigations.

Despite these issues, Wilmington City Manager Sterling Cheatham says crime rates have gone down virtually every year for the last ten years. Cheatham says an organization as big as WPD is bound to face problems.

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“You will encounter some challenges, and the important thing is to learn from all of them and to train and to enforce what the expected behaviors are,” Cheatham said.

When we spoke to Cheatham in March, he said he wished Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous would be more patient with him and others.

“I don’t know that I’ve seen or expected to see any overnight changes in our police chief’s patience, because he has high expectations,” Cheatham said.

Despite that, Cheatham says Chief Evangelous is doing a great job managing the department, and says crime rates prove it.

“Police released information a couple of weeks ago about the significant, significant reduction in violent crimes in our public housing communities,” Cheatham said.

But that did not stop the US Department of Justice from coming to the Port City to look at areas for improvement.

“The Department of Justice have had facilitators in our community to meet with different people to talk about their views of how the community can, community relations can be enhanced,” Cheatham said.

He says the DOJ will identify what some of the issues are and make recommendations.

The city manager says he does not know when the Department of Justice will give the city its recommendations, but he says when the city gets them, it will respond appropriately.

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