Sunday, August 7, 2022

New Hanover County approves $670,000 contract for Sheriff’s Office to take over ILM security

Last year the sheriff's office took over policing CFCC, this year they will take the reigns at ILM.

Wilmington International Airport (ILM). (Port City Daily photo / File)

WILMINGTON — For the second time in about a year, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office (NHCSO) has taken over policing services for a major public entity in the Wilmington area.

In May of last year, Cape Fear Community College decided to fold its on-campus police department, instead opting to have the sheriff’s office provide policing services.

Now, the NCHSO will be providing policing services to the Wilmington Airport (ILM) for a contracted fee of $670,000 annually.

When CFCC announced it would be closing its police department last year, a press release read, “Officials at Cape Fear Community College announced today plans to partner with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office (NHCSO) to provide law enforcement services for the college. The college has enjoyed a long-term partnership with NHCSO through contracted and supplemental law enforcement services. The existing partnership has allowed NHCSO to become very familiar with the safety and security needs of the college. Under the new partnership, dedicated officers will be stationed on campus. This decision was not based on budget.”

Similarly, according to a letter obtained by WECT from Airport Director Julie Wilsey, “The decision to transfer law enforcement to the Sheriff was a very difficult one to make, but it was made in the best interest of the operation,” Wilsey wrote. “As a tenant and partner, you will not see any changes to security of the Terminal. In fact, Chief Gary Taylor will be our liaison with the Sheriff’s Department and remain as Operations Manager and Chief of Public Safety.”

On Monday, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners approved the partnership with ILM which will begin providing services to the airport starting Nov. 1.

When asked why the airport decided to shutter its police department and opt for county services, Chief Deputy Ken Sarvis said there were multiple reasons for the switch.

“I think the gain for the airport is they will have the total infrastructure of the sheriff’s office. If there is anything that needs to be investigated we certainly can send a detective over there to do that. They will certainly have more resources,” he said.

Sarvis also said he believes that one of the problems the airport was facing that will be alleviated with the contract is having a consistent presence.

“I don’t want to speak for the airport but one of the challenges is having enough personnel day-to-day to be there,” he said.

The Board of County Commissioners did approve the contract and the new services are set to begin Nov. 1.


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