At the recent community meeting, Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Dan House said that one way the police department could help boost morale is through periodic awards and recognition. And those awards weren’t just limited to police officers, pointing out that the department also recognized citizens for their help with police.
House referenced the aid given to the department by King Neptune general manager Christopher Roberts. His role with the restaurant includes managing the security staff at the restaurant that transforms into a nightclub on Friday and Saturday nights, where his team is sometime needed to keep order.
During the Oct. 26 Chat with the Chief meeting in Wrightsville Beach, House said that Roberts was recognized for helping his officers keep space between the busy end-of-the-night crowds.
“He has helped our officers on many occasions,” House said. “He was unanimously nominated by the officers.”
The Wrightsville Beach Police Department presented two citizenship awards, one to Roberts and another to the staff at the restaurant.
“It was humbling,” Roberts said of the awards.
While providing security at Wrightsville Beach’s dance clubs can create some violent encounters, he said that bouncers have the advantage and mostly are trying to de-escalate confrontation.
“You’re always a step ahead,” Roberts said of challenging patrons when they get violent.
Roberts said one incident last summer helped prompt the recognition from the department. After a fight in front of the clubs on North Lumina Avenue, one man was injured and lying on the ground. As police and medical personnel attended to him, Roberts and his crew formed a perimeter around them, keeping them from being encroached on by the growing crowd.
“There’s between two and five hundred people on the streets for those few minutes. We set a barrier, so they could do their jobs.” he said. “We knew it could get scary for them. We help them out whenever they need it.”
Roberts said it was important to maintain good relationships with police.
“We’re on a first-name basis with the police, it’s always good to know them,” said Roberts, who has worked at the restaurant since 1993, where he started at the door. “I’ve known some of the officers for a long time.”
While things have changed in Wrightsville Beach in the more than two decades he’s worked, he said the beach and its nightlife has always brought a big crowd, with the biggest change mainly coming from the new faces that roll in with the changing semesters of the local colleges and university.
“A new crowd comes every year,’ he said.