New SPD chief focused community building, empowerment
BY STACIE LETT CAIN
It didn't take long for Statesville Police Chief David Addison to decide where he wanted to focus the department's efforts.
After just a few weeks on the job the new chief was convinced that the SPD was on the right track.
“Interim Chief Onley did an outstanding job as chief and began pushing the department in a direction that I will continue to go in,” Addison said in a recent interview. “We are going to continue to meet people where they live and continue taking the police department out into the community to be a presence that the residents of Statesville can rely on and trust.”
Addison, who rose to the rank of captain during a 23-year at the Durham Police Department, said he reached a goal he set for himself two decades ago when he was sworn in as SPD chief.
“One of the questions I was asked by a veteran officer that was interviewing me for a promotion asked me to tell him where I wanted to be in twenty years,” Addison recalls. “I told him I wanted to be chief of police in 20 years.”
He began his new position on February 10.
“I did a lot of research on Statesville before I made the decision to take this position,” he explained. “I was very impressed with what I found and very impressed with City Manager Ron Smith and decided that this is where I wanted to be.”
His experience and a passion to serve are only a small part of what Addison brings with him to the Statesville Police Department. He began his academic career studying to be an engineer but was inspired to pursue a career in law enforcement by a family friend who was a police chief in Morrisville, N.C.
“Those two disciplines merge together more than most realize,” Addison explained. “With all of the technological advances in law enforcement investigations, forensic sciences and how street policing is done, they have more in common than you would think.”
At the age of 42, Addison, who is also an adjunct professor of political science and criminal justice at St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, decided to add a law degree to his resume. He is now license to practice law.
What does he plan to do with everything he has learned through the years?
“I will be a working chief,” he explained. “When I don’t have to be in the office dealing with administrative issues, I will be out in the community, getting to know the people of Statesville and getting to the root of what the issues are here.”
Addison believes that enforcing laws isn’t the only purpose of local law enforcement. He wants to find out why crime is being committed and then do something to stop it.
“People do crime for a variety of reasons and some of them are quality-of-life issues,” he said. “If someone is stealing to feed their family, we can help them find other avenues to fill that need. I think that aspect of our job is just as important. Law enforcement is good at arresting people, but there is so much more we can do to not ever get to that point.”
In addition to dealing with the day to day issues, Addison is also looking toward the future. He sees the growth that Statesville is facing as a particular challenge that he wants his department to be prepared for.
The SPD will organize a series of community meetings to help empower citizens to address problems within their neighborhoods.
“Once you empower people and make them an active part of the solution, they will be there to help the community,” he explained. “That’s what we hope to do with these community meetings.”
The community meetings will be held the third Saturday of each month, beginning April 21, from 1 to 3 p.m. The meetings will be held at different locations throughout the city, the first one being at the Bentley Community Center.
If there os one thing that Addison wants Statesville residents to know about him, it is that he is available and wants to be involved.
“I am very approachable and I want to hear from people,” he said. “I have a commitment and drive that are unparalleled and I am striving to increase the quality of life for both the community and the officers and staff within this department. We need everyone, sworn and unsworn personnel, community members and city leaders to do what we need to do.”