Northwest considers disbanding the city’s police department
NORTHWEST, NC (WWAY) — The City of Northwest is considering disbanding its police department.
According to the mayor and several council members, one side believes it will vote for the town’s independence, the other believes it will vote for its safety.
According to Northwest Mayor James Knox, city council members will vote next Tuesday night whether to disband their police department and contract Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office to keep some officers permanently in the city.
“I’m not considering that,” said Knox. “There was one sole councilman who considered that and took that upon himself.”
Councilman “Chip” Carroll proposed the switch. According to councilman Michael Troy, Northwest offers police coverage during peak hours, but it doesn’t have an officer available 24 hours a day.
“I’m not against full-time coverage,” Troy said. “I think we need full-time coverage. But I think we need to have our own.”
The lack of 24 hour police availability has posed a challenge several times, according to councilman Aaron Perkins.
Troy says Northwest’s three officers often focus on community policing, and have a trusting relationship with the community. If disbanded, they worry the community will have trouble trusting law enforcement.
Troy continued, “I feel the police here has a better community, and that means a lot. Because a lot of times, when a person’s in need they won’t call police they don’t know.”
Knox and Troy believe that in spike of less resources, the community would rather have independent policing.
“You know, I appreciate what the county is trying to do, but I’d feel better,” Troy paused, “as I always say, if you have your own, you’re better off.”
Knox responded, “They don’t want to see everything go to the county. We’ve already given water and sewer to the county. You don’t have too much bargaining power left when you start giving up everything that you have.”
We reached out to the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, but they were unable to provide a statement regarding the potential agreement with Northwest.