Local News

Raleigh police department undergoing restructuring

Posted January 4, 2010

— Raleigh's police chief says the city's police department is refocusing its efforts on gangs, youth crimes and drug offenses as part of a major restructuring effort over the next several years.

"In the next five to seven years, what you'll recognize about the Raleigh Police Department are your patrol cars and your uniforms," Chief Harry Dolan said Monday. "Just about everything else is going to change."

Raleigh police department shifts gears Raleigh police department shifts gears

Based on a year of meetings with community leaders, the police department is adding a Youth and Family Services Unit, with juvenile officers who will work with families on everything from gang issues to dropout prevention.

The goal, Dolan said, is to help young people avoid crime and graduate. It's an issue leaders identified as one of the biggest they face.

"We can only put so many people in jail," Dolan said, emphasizing the need to concentrate on youth-crime prevention with after-school programs and job-training.

Among other changes, the department is adding a third drugs-and-vice unit and a third Special Enforcement Unit, which is similar to a S.W.A.T.

The department has also increased the number of police beats by 25 percent – from 49 to 62 – over the past two years and has put more resources into its community-policing program. It has also redrawn police districts to reflect crime trends and needs.

Dolan says all of these changes are being made within the current budget and with existing personnel, which includes more than 750 officers.

Police headquarters will also temporarily relocate from the corner of Hargett and McDowell streets in downtown to 6719 Six Forks Road while a new public safety center is built in the location. That move is expected to be complete in March.

There's no timetable on when the Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center will be complete. Construction on the 17-story, $226 million facility is expected to take more than two years.

When finished, it will also house the headquarters of the Raleigh Fire Department, the Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center, a traffic control center and a data center


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  • Homerun5thgxe Jan 13, 2010

    How about some common "sense" and "attitude" training for the Police as well. THE unfortunate part of RPD is that many officers (except for a few) approach many citizens with no respect towards citizens. If a person does something wrong it does not give an officer the right to treat or talk to you as a Hardened criminal. Raleigh cops use intimidation and abuse the power of their badge. I saw this first hand on jury duty last year and instead of locking up a possible criminal he walked free! So bravo if this change includes these improvements. But I won't hold my breath on it.

  • nanasix Jan 4, 2010

    Hopefully the plan will help the citizens, children, schools, and everyone affected...anythings worth a try. I hope Raleigh has an Aux. Police Division, as so many cities do. I was with the Portsmouth Police Dept. for 10 years as an Aux. Officer. We made a big difference in our city and what was accomplished and covered. In our current financial times, this would be a great way to increase the coverage on the streets, as there are many good qualified people who would give of their time and efforts to help their cities. These people would under go the same training, and background search that other officers undergo....encourage your town or city to look deeply into this aspect for protection, as there is certainly safety in numbers.

  • throneofwisdom Jan 4, 2010

    Wow, sounds like they want Raleigh PD to help the local schools raise the kids. Here is a novel idea - PARENTS, RAISE YOUR CHILDREN RIGHT! And for far too many cases- PARENTS, RAISE YOUR CHILDREN!

    I worked in Juvenile Justice long enough to give you loads of data that boils down to this: people just wanna have babies, they want someone else to raise them.

    The "community" needs to change from the inside out if real change is to occur. But hey, 10 points for political correctness. Too bad that krap is killing this country.

  • nerdlywehunt Jan 4, 2010

    Southernlady05, I agree wiht everyting you have said EXCEPT I think that if we start with candidates that have a more balanced view and exposure to different opinions and cultures we will end up with better leo's!!!!! That just seems to be simple common sense to me! It won't assure success but puts the taxpayer closer to having the ideal person enforcing the laws.
    On a side note, the war on drugs is a sham and creates expensive black markets that makes the uses resort to crimes to feed their habit. How many more billions will be spent before we realize that this is a fools folly?

  • LocalYokel Jan 4, 2010

    These plans are just further proof that chief Dolan is taking Raleigh in the wrong direction. I hope the police chief is the first thing he changes. We need you focused on real issues - not paper tigers and feel good PR stunts. We don't need police focus on student education because its not a police primary responsibility and police are not good at it. We don't need more wasted resources and lives on your futile drug war. Seriously chief Dolan, feel free to leave any time.

  • oldcorp Jan 4, 2010

    Great ideas and I wish the dept. all the best. My tenure there spanned 4 chiefs. Cutting-edge ideas and prevention can be great and effective tools, but they need a crucial ingredient - addequate personnel and staffing. That's the expensive ingredient and one the city typically balks at suppying in adequate number. Skating rinks and greenways usually take precedent.

  • SouthernLady05 Jan 4, 2010

    "And just think of how much money, time & lives we'd save if we legalized marijuana. I don't even smoke the stuff, but see that it should be regulated & TAXED like alcohol and tobacco. If not, why not?"

    I think most LEO's would agree with you. But it's thier job to uphold the law. A lot them would rather spend their time on the bigger problems.

  • SouthernLady05 Jan 4, 2010

    nerdlywehunt I disagree. Just because you have a college degree does not make you fit to work the street. I think most officers learn more from expierence. Just because they don't hold a piece of paper does not mean they don't have a balanced view of the world. I know several people who have left local agencies to go federal... and I can tell you that isn't thier opinon. It's my opinon that law enforcement presence will do little with these juviniles. Plain and simple, these officers can't be there night and day like a parent should. They can't teach them right from wrong, and they can't give them the stability and love a child needs not to turn to gangs and violence. They have their own families to look after. They can not be these children's parents. Until society addresses the real issues as to why these kids turn to gangs and the "thug" life, nothing will change. Parents need to be parents, plain and simple.

  • TeresaBee Jan 4, 2010

    BRAVO!!! This is good news! There is hope not just for society but for the the underprivileged that might get a better chance of a productive life.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jan 4, 2010

    I hope they concentrate more on violent offenses.

    And just think of how much money, time & lives we'd save if we legalized marijuana. I don't even smoke the stuff, but see that it should be regulated & TAXED like alcohol and tobacco. If not, why not?