CAROLINA BEACH — Police are one of the most relied upon public entities; from patrolling the streets to solving crimes, municipalities as well as residents depend on the police. But in Carolina Beach, the Police Department says it has remained understaffed for years.
Carolina Beach Police Chief Chris Spivey is hoping the Town Council approves the creation of a new position, a deputy chief.
The new position would help, “take some of the stress off what we have right now with some of our administrative staff. Also, a lot of our sergeants are preforming a bunch of tasks that we could share the load,” Spivey said during a budget presentation Wednesday.
For Spivey, there are several areas the department needs to focus on, recruitment, retention, and the reassessment and reassignment of workloads.
“In the last two or three years we have not had a full roster of personnel … we find that people are moving to other areas interested in other parts of law enforcement. They are interested in other departments, there are a couple of officers that are relocating for urgent family matters,” Spivey said.
During the Fiscal Year 2017 budget season, Town Council approved new hires for the department in the form of two full-time patrol officers and one criminal detective, the department has not yet filled the detective position.
This year, Carolina Beach Police Department is requesting $112,784 more in funding for personnel and benefits which would fund the newly requested deputy chief position as well as provide a 401k match program.
Another increase in funding would provide the department with a lease for a Tsunami Surveillance System, a camera system that could be used throughout the town.
“This is a camera that is weatherproof and tamper proof and we can deploy that at many locations to capture any type of video we may need. We could use it at the bridge, we could use it at the marina …” Spivey said.
Overall, the CBPD is requesting a total budget increase of $191,267 over Fiscal Year 2017-18, for a total of $2.92 million.
When it comes to patrolling the beaches in Carolina Beach, the town has created a separate Beach Maintenance Account.
In January, dozens of residents came to the Town Council meeting to voice their opinions on several proposed rule changes to Freeman Park. These changes were suggested to combat vandalism to the park and other issues that have faced the park over the past few years.
Staff right now is at five-and-a-half, which is the same thing as five full-time and one-part time. We’re looking at increasing that to two-and-a-half … which will give us a total of eight. The reason that I looked at this was as we were all here in January and there was a full house and a lot of conversation and a lot of people came to the podium and expressed concerns about Freeman Park. The main things we heard was enforcement … and trash,” Spivey said.
If the town wants the Police Department to increase enforcement, Spivey said there has to be more beach rangers.
The Beach Maintenance Account would see an increase of $236,502 over last year’s $247,019. That would put the Fiscal Year 2018-19 total of $483,521 for personnel and benefits.
The Town Council will not approval the final budget until summer of this year.
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