RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As police continue to search for the person who attacked and killed a Raleigh bicyclist on the greenway, CBS 17 has learned the department was denied money to start a unit to patrol those trails.
The Raleigh City Council turned down to funding request.
The Capital Area Greenway system has more than 100 miles of trails all around Raleigh.
Chauncey “Chip” Depew, 57, was on the Walnut Creek trail, near South Saunders Street Thursday around noon when police confirm he was brutally beaten. He died at WakeMed.
“Heartbreaking to put it lightly,” Cody Stokes with the group Oaks & Spokes.
He said the incident has placed a new emphasis on safety for the biking advocacy group.
Stokes said he’d never seen a police officer on the greenway.
“Oh never, essentially,” Steve Spiker, a Greenway enthusiast said.
“I’ve been riding these greenways for years, you gotta watch out for yourself,” another bicyclist said.
Raleigh police wanted to change that.
In the department’s budget request for 2021, they proposed a new parks and greenways patrol unit. They wanted six dedicated officers and a sergeant to oversee it. The cost would have been just under $580,000.
As part of an effort to update police resources, Raleigh police requested about $2.8 million. The city determined that would require a tax rate increase during a pandemic. The city council declined to take action.
“When it comes to saving lives there’s no cost too great. We should be investing in protecting people’s lives,” Stokes said.
“There’s so little crime on the greenways anyway. I feel pretty safe,” Spiker said.
CBS 17 requested calls for service on the greenway. Raleigh police said they don’t keep track of that specifically. It’s done by the closest intersection.
CBS 17 reached out to the mayor and several city council members and hasn’t heard back.
Oaks & Spokes is planning a memorial bike ride in honor Depew. That will take place Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Bikers will meet at the Blair Drive parking lot at Dix Park.
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