Knightdale town council candidates say public safety is a priority

mhankerson@newsobserver.comOctober 28, 2013 

Although development and growth may be at the forefront of many Knightdale residents’ minds, town council candidates say it’s important to start looking at the effect of that growth now, specifically in regard to the town’s public safety measures.

Incumbent Mike Chalk said he’s interested in maintaining the quality of public safety in town and and making sure the police force grows with the town, a sentiment echoed by candidates Mark Swan and Randy Young.

Challenger Charles Bullock, who served on town council from 1985-1993, said he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep Knightdale citizens and their property safe. He said he’d also like to make sure residents are more informed of crime and incidents when they happen.

“The citizens need to be more advised with what's going on around them,” Bullock said. He said now is a good time to focus on public safety since the town is currently investigating its second murder.

Bullock has no specific plans in relation to public safety, but is open to any concerns citizens may have now or as the town expands.

“I support whatever is needed for public safety to protect the citizens and property of the citizens of Knightdale,” Bullock said. “If it’s good for the people, it’s good for the town.”

Although Knightdale has an overall low crime rate, Swan said his house has been broken into twice. “I think thats a fluke, I really do think Knightdale is safe,” he said.

Swan says it’s important to make sure other parts of the county know Knightdale is a safe place. Young and Chalk, however, are anticipating needing a stronger police force as the town grows.

“I think the idea of adding policemen over time is the idea of making the people of Knightdale more secure,” Chalk said. “I don't think there’s anything wrong with the policemen we have.”

Right now, Knightdale’s police department has 27 employees with one civilian employee. The U.S. Census estimates the town’s population to be a tick below 13,000 people, but several projects in the works could boost that figure considerably.

An 835-home, multi-year development near Knightdale Station Park is slated to begin construction on homes as early as next March.

There are also several projects in different stages of completion within the town: Poplar Creek Village has asked the town for permission to carry out a plan that adds 26 lots to the subdivision , River's Edge Apartments wants to construct about eight buildings with room for 306 multi-family units and the Glenmere subdivision is a proposed 321-lot project between Smithfield Road and Fayetteville Street.

“As we grow, that presents challenges for public safety,” Young said. “I want to make sure we're adequately staffed. I'm an advocate for growth but ... I want to make sure we're in sync with each other,” he said.

Chalk also mentioned the fire staff will have to grow, especially as the town expands to the west. He said the town will probably have to consider building another station and the town owns land on Mingo Creek Parkway for that purpose.

“That’s something down the line that’s going to have to happen,” he said.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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