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May 11, 2007



Although I don't agree with what happened, I don't see it hurting the citizens too much. This contract was set up to allow WPD officers to enforce the law on their way back from the jail to the city. For the most part, that's only one or two direct routes. I wonder how many of the calls the City answered were for major crimes? Pulling over a car for a month old expired registration isn't something major. I wonder how many of those calls they answered were from something like that? It is only a couple miles from the jail back to city limits.

The Mailman


law enforcement

EDITOR: An overhaul of local law enforcement is long overdue. The New Hanover County sheriff and Wilmington police chief are squabbling again. They have just ended their mutual aid agreement. Their predecessors also failed to cooperate.

Taxpayers should not be burdened with financing two uncooperative police forces doing the same functions using inconsistent methods …

Our unsupervised, politically independent sheriff is going in one direction, and our highly accountable Wilmington police chief is going in another. ... They do not agree on how to make drug arrests, prevent gang violence, use helicopters, share information or always cooperate with federal task forces.

Listening to the sheriff whine about city police officers arresting traffic violators on their way to and from the jail on Blue Clay Road is the last straw. A police authority could put a stop to this pettiness and reprimand the sheriff or police chief when their officers or deputies botch a job, such as the instance of serving a warrant to a college student ending in the student's death.

… This year both the city and county are requesting huge budget increases for law enforcement. Yet there is no authority to weed out the inefficiencies and duplication. …There are several organizational structures that could unify the police functions under one management. …

New legislation will be required ... The sheriff's constitutional position can be saved by making him or her responsible for the jail.

If our political leaders want to rein in the large increases in law enforcement expenditures, they should commission a study of this issue, and then have the guts to initiate legislation to make it happen over the objections of vested interests.

Dave Pyle


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