Local News

New Angier Police Chief is Bi-Lingual

Posted April 4, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— For months, the small town of Angier has been without a police chief, but has had no shortage of big city crime. Now the long-vacant post has been filled by a man who says he intends to fight crime and break down ethnic barriers.

There are only 2,500 residents of Angier, but given its proximity to Raleigh, it is experiencing rapid growth. One of the fastest growing segments of the population is Hispanic. That, according to police, has sometimes made for difficult communications.

That's why new chief Michael Aponte says he believes his fluency in both English and Spanish will provide a much needed tool for improving relations in the rural community.

People have experienced shock, but as they get to know Aponte, the shock is wearing off. Aponte has been around. The former Wake County Sheriff's Deputy was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, he races motorcycles, he's been shot in the line of duty, and he even appeared on television's America's Most Wanted program for solving a crime.

But Aponte says he thinks his biggest asset in his new position is his Hispanic heritage.

Angier restaurant owner Rebecca Rodriguez agrees with Aponte.

Recently, several members of Angier's Hispanic community were victims of a brutal beating at a local laundromat. Aponte says he wants his officers to be able to handle situations like that with no language barrier. That's why he's sending them to school to learn Spanish.

Officer Donny Storer says that knowledge will help.

Angier currently has six police officers. Aponte says he would like to hire at least three more. He says his goal is to boost the image of the police department and respond better to the needs of the entire community.