With nearly 2,000 miles to cover in the three county area, a helicopter sounds like a needed piece of equipment. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the benefits of such a vehicle to combat crime. It didn't take Chief Ralph Evangelous long at all to propose such a creative concept of his co-op idea that may bring Pender, Brunswick and New Hanover County a means of swift deployment and eye-in-the-sky surveillance. Imagine the possibilities of being able to provide back-up to a deputy out in the boonies of Pender County as he is in foot pursuit of a dangerous Felon. Imagine the missing that could easily be searched for, the reckless car chases that will no longer require endangering the public because of the ability to follow the vehicle from the air. Just think of the drug traffickers that have depended on our congested roads to ease their devil power into our communities. The need is great.
But is the need great enough to shell out money for such an apparent luxury, at least that is what New Hanover Sheriff County Sid Causey is calling it, a luxury. In the proposal issued by Chief Evangelous, it is clear that the cost of the Government surplus helicopter is free, a majority of the expense to cover the use of the whirlybird will be covered by the seized assets and grant money. After all this worked for Evangelous in Temple, why not here? I guess you'd have to ask the loan nay-sayer, Sheriff Causey. I'd like to ask him if he thought having a helicopter would have helped to capture UNCW student, Christen Marie Naujoks killer, John Peck, who drove around town just after killing his ex-girlfriend while he talked with a dispatcher that called his cell phone from the 911 Center, preventing his shootout with a Park Ranger in the mountains of North Carolina. Would it have helped chase after 25-year-old Tiffany Michelle Pridgen as she sped thru town endangering the life of a drug agent and ultimately crashing her car into a church. Fortunately no one was seriously hurt as the car quickly became engulfed in flames. Why not enjoy the view from the comfort of 1,000 feet rather than bump and run thru the busy streets of Wilmington at 10:30 at night?
Perhaps Causey is being prudent with his hard to come by taxpayer money that keeps leaking thru the cracks at the jail and with all the overtime, and the number of promotions given out. Perhaps his quote in the Star News when he says, "Even if we don’t get in right at the start, we most likely will, eventually. Until then, we might have to pay for it at full cost if we need it.” Paying at the backend rather than ante' up at the front? Conservative thinking or retarded? Sounds retarded to me because the ante' is minimal, his deliberate objection is yet just another in a long list of signals that he is unwilling to cooperate with the effective, proactive, tactics of crime prevention so evident in Chief Evangelous' paradigm he implemented just after taking the helm.
I would hate to see such sour grapes rob, not only Wilmington, but the surrounding Counties of a proven and effective tool to combat crime and added resource in our search for the missing.
I hope to have a copy of the Chief's proposal on our website, bluelineradio.com, very soon.