Greenville police department hires citizens to help with minor vehicle wrecks

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – An Eastern Carolina police department is asking for help from civilians in a new program.

Starting Wednesday, Civilian Crash Investigators will be hitting the streets of Greenville.

The idea for the program stems from the pandemic when law enforcement started seeing staffing issues.

“That was when we started having these discussions. It got really serious kinda in 2022, that’s when we started working on getting the legislation passed, and the legislation was passed in 2023,” said Major David Anderson, the special operations commander for the Greenville police department.

The goal of the new unit is to free up some time for police officers as they see around 300 to 400 wrecks a month.

“All of that is going to be a really big help and free up our police officers. I would say probably a third of our crashes are property damage,” said Major Anderson.

Some of the city’s busiest intersections are drawing attention.

“Red Banks and Arlington is a hotspot, Thomas Langston and Memorial is a busy intersection. We see a lot of wrecks on 10th St. and Greenville Boulevard. That’s some of the busier ones we run into,” said Marty Anderson, the co-owner of Anderson & Sons Automotive.

Greenville Police Civilian Crash Investigators will have more than two hundred hours of training.

“32 hours of classroom was followed by four weeks of field training,” said Major Anderson.

But despite lengthy work- there are some things they won’t be doing.

“They cannot investigate anything that involves personal injury. They cannot conduct traffic stops. They do not carry weapons, and they will not take any enforcement action,” said Major Anderson.

Still, a few of the new hires have previous law enforcement experience adding to the real-life training they may need.

The new Civilian Crash Investigators can also help conduct traffic, which Major Anderson said will be helpful during a serious wreck, power outage, or special event.

There are already three civilian crash investigators, and Greenville PD is currently in the process of hiring a fourth. These full-time positions are being paid through city funds.