New Policy for Wrightsville Beach Police Department gives Police authority to confront suspicious persons on private property-
Corporal J. Rich was recognized as the Wrightsville Beach officer of the year. The observance prompted the discussion of concerns at the Wrightsville Beach Police Department at the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen meeting on Thursday, May 9. WBPD Chief Dan House that Corporal Rich has been a WBPD officer since 2005 and was promoted to the rank of corporal last September. Kind words and praise from house included, “He has served as a field training officer throughout his entire career so he has been instrumental in training the officers who are out in the field,” and “He has done an outstanding job for us and we would like to recognize him.” The police department welcomed a new officer at the board meeting. Former United States Navy corpsman J. Salyer was sworn in. Salyer is a native of Topeka, Kan. and served two tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
A new WBPD policy was unanimously adopted by the board that gives the WBPD authority in arresting those whom they see trespassing on private land. The policy prompts residents to sign an agreement with the WBPD giving an officer full authority to question any suspicious persons on private property. House said, “We can get them off the property, look up their name, and a lot of times after you start running that information they have criminal histories so … it can lead to so much more.”
“We are always looking for … different ideas and thinking outside the box about how other communities are handling similar situations and trying to apply those,” he said. “Based on feedback I have gotten from people I think it is going to be very successful but you never know until it is implemented,\” House iterated further.
WBPD will sell signs or stickers that are similar to home security signs that are expected to act as a deterrent to trespassing, assuming the suspects are familiar with the sign and concept. No word yet on the cost of the stickers.
“It just makes it easier for the police officer to identify,” House said. “If you don’t have the sign they would have to call into the front desk to see if there is an agreement on file or not, whereas the sign gives them that hint that there is an agreement and they can go be a little nosier if they see a suspicious person.”
“We have a lot of people who don’t want these people to know they are the ones that called the police so this is perfect,” he said. House encourages residents to sign the document saying this could also prevent the perpetrator from suspecting that the resident called in the complaint if they are home.
Tim Owens, Town manager introduced another new ordinance. The new ordinance holds landlords accountable for repeat violations by their tenants and was approved at the board meeting. The biggest change to the town’s current nuisance includes categorizing pet ordinance violations into the issues landlords are responsible for.
“We don’t want to have to use it but my first contact would be with the tenants; but if that doesn’t work, personal contact with the landowner generally clears up the situation,” Owens said. “In the event that it isn’t cleaned up, now there is a process to go through that holds them accountable and fines the landlords themselves.”