Wilmington, NC – Bar patrons in downtown Wilmington this weekend may have noticed a few more police officers on the streets. It's part of a new program to step up late-night policing.
Two Front Street bars are paying the Wilmington Police Department to station uniformed officers in front of their clubs on certain nights -- outside the Liquid Room on Tuesdays and Thursdays and City Limits Saloon on Saturdays. Officers stay of the bars unless called inside.
The beefed up patrols are part of a pilot program to improve Wilmington's often-wild late night scene. The Wilmington Police Department is also from time to time stationing a prisoner transport van - or paddy wagon - downtown on weekend nights.
Wilmington police chief Ralph Evangelous says the goal is to make the police presence more visible on the streets, "and when the patrons see those officers standing there when they're going in, it kind of, the psychological impact we think. So right, so far so good."
Evangelous says it's too early to tell whether the program is resulting in more or fewer arrests.