Fayetteville Police Department secures $1 million grant for its sexual assault unit

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The Fayetteville Police Department is getting a $1 million federal grant to help further the efforts of the Cold Case Sexual Assault Unit.

Since the unit started in 2015, nearly 700 sexual assault kits have been tested.

Lt. Michael Petti says 59 cases have been solved.

“Investigating and prosecuting cold cases have little nuisances different than your normal case,” Lt. Petti said.

Some of the grant money will be paying for a three-year special prosecutor position with the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office.

District Attorney Billy West says the position will be dedicated to prosecuting sexual assault cases.

“To be able to have a specialized prosecutor to work just on those types of cases is really something that I think is going to help public safety in our community,” West said. “It’s good to have someone who’s doing that all day every day in order to get the best result in those cases.”

The grant will also help continue to provide a victim advocate.

It’s their role to help victims feel more comfortable and walk them through the legal process.

“Our approach is totally what we call victim-centered,” Petti said. “They are involved in the process the entire way; they’re kept informed of every step that’s taken.”

Petti is hoping to track down more sexual assault suspects to add to the growing list of closed cases, including an arrest this week from a 2011 case, and another arrest from a 1992 case.

“It’s what we live for,” he said.

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