Wilmington Police holds 25th annual Demo Day

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — After two years of pandemic shutdowns, Wilmington Police’s Demo Day was back for its 25th year Tuesday.

According to Chief Donny Williams, the day draws a big crowd and is vital for community relations.

“We want to do what we can to remove dangerous individuals from our community, but we also have to have relationships,” Williams explained. “This is a great opportunity to have the public come in, to build upon those relationships, and then get to see what we’re doing with their tax dollars.”

On Tuesday, visitors got to know the equipment ranging from fearsome to furry.

“Not many people want to pet a police car, they’ll pet a horse,” Officer Mininger laughed. “So, it’s a good conversation starter, between law enforcement and the public.”

Folks also got to know the officers who use that equipment. Mom, Megan Hsu thinks it’s a great learning opportunity for her child.

“Yeah, and realizing there’s nothing to be scared of. And they’re here to help us and keep everybody safe,” she said.

Chief Pilot Jonathan Gordon uses the SABLE helicopter for search and rescue. Just last month, Gordon remembers helping Topsail Beach look for a missing elderly kayaker. After hours of searching, Gordon remembers spotting the missing man, who was delirious, exhausted, and dehydrated.

“The tide had receded, and pretty much beached him for hundreds of yards away from the water,” he remembered. “So he was stuck in there. So we got out and put him in the helicopter.”

The unit got the kayaker medical assistance, saving his life. On days like that, Gordon says the jobs can be incredibly rewarding. Tuesday, he used that experience to educate the public.

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