Raleigh budget plan includes funds for unit to patrol city’s greenways

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Raleigh Police Department could finally get a unit dedicated to patrolling the city’s greenway system.

The funding comes less than a year after a bicyclist was brutally beaten and killed on a greenway and, as CBS 17 reported, the city council rejected a plan for such a unit.

But this time could be different. City council, including the mayor, said they took what happened on the greenway seriously and want to ensure people using it are safe.

With more than 100 miles of trails all over the city, the Capital Area Greenway System is a valuable resource.

“I’ve never really felt, like, really unsafe,” Chamberlain Collier said.

Collier and her dog, Max, call themselves frequent fliers on the greenway. And while Collier said she doesn’t feel unsafe, she welcomes the additional resources.

“Once you pass this entrance right here, and you get back on some of those trails, you’re really in the woods by yourself. And so, if someone were to get into any kind of trouble, obviously the closer someone is to help the better off,” she said.

Back in August, Chauncey Depew or “Chip” was brutally beaten on the Walnut Creek Trail near South Saunders Street. The avid bicyclist died at WakeMed.

No arrest has been made in that case.

In the days that followed, CBS 17 reported that Raleigh police had requested money for a unit to patrol the greenways only to have it rejected by the city council.

“One area in the community survey that decreased since 2018 is the perception of greenway safety,” said a city official during the budget presentation.

This year as part of that proposal it was brought up again. City leaders recommended a new police department unit for the greenways. It would include six officers and a sergeant. They’re also allocating $900,000 for safety repairs and lighting.

“I think it’s a great idea. Keep it safer for everybody,” Caroline Russell said.

“What I’d rather see them do is fix the part of the greenway that’s been blocked off,” Edward Finley said.

The city council still needs to vote on it, that’s expected to happen in June.

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