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WPD apologizes for officer's lapsed radar certification, DA dismisses speeding charges

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In a joint statement, the Wilmington Police Department and District Attorney Ben David acknowledged that a traffic officer had been issuing speeding citations since last October despite having expired certification. The officer reported the issue himself, according to WPD, and an internal audit determined it was an isolated incident.

According to the Wilmington Police Department (WPD), Officer Eric Lippert brought the issue to supervisors in early July. It was determined that his radar certification had expired in October 2021.

“During this time, the officer had charged speeding violations under the belief that his certification was still valid. Once I was notified, I immediately opened an investigation to look into the matter. This investigation included a complete audit of all radar operators. The results of that audit have shown that this was an isolated incident and all other officers, who are radar certified, are in good standing,” WPD Chief Donny Williams wrote in a statement.

Williams apologize to "those directly impacted and the Wilmington community for our mistake." He said was taking corrective action, evaluating WPD’s policy for tracking certification expirations, and working to enact new measures to prevent it from reoccurring.

An investigation is ongoing, during which WPD said it could make no further comment. However, Williams said he believed the lapse was “a mistake of the mind, not a mistake of the heart.”

In a letter to the New Hanover County Defense Bar, District Attorney Ben David wrote that, while there was no evidence of “bad faith or malice” by Lippert, he had instructed his staff to dismiss any pending speeding charge issued by Officer Lippert from October 1, 2021 through July 7, 2022.

Other cases will be addressed on a case-by-case basis, according to David, who added that attorneys who believe they may have represented a client affected by the issue, please contact Assistant District Attorney Kristi Severo at Kristi.S.Severo@nccourts.org.

Below: Letter from Ben David