Report assesses changes within Wilmington Police Department



    The Wilmington Police Department has followed through on a majority of public safety recommendations, according to a new report.

    Last month, the Police Foundation conducted an assessment of the city’s police department. The Delaware Criminal Justice council commissioned the nonpartisan nonprofit, whose mission is to improve policing, according its website.

    The report reveals which of the 111 Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission’s (WPSSC) recommendations have been implemented since they were issued a year ago.

    Gov. Jack Markell established the commission to look at the city’s public safety strategies in January 2015.

    The independent assessment found the city has implemented 71 percent of the recommendations, including approximately 63 percent labeled as ‘high priority,’ in the areas of community policing, murder clearance and crime analysis, to name a few. Eight percent of the recommendations are in progress; seven percent were implemented in a different way from what was proposed; two percent were partially implemented. 

    The 12 percent of recommendations not implemented at all largely pertained to staffing changes. According to the report’s executive summary, the department’s requests to add staff were not approved by the city, while other recommendations were determined “to not be feasible.”

    “Although not all recommendations have been implemented, we can report that significant change has occurred in the WPD as a direct result of the initial assessment,” Police Foundation Vice President Jim Burch said. “We were pleased to learn of the progress made in improving the WPD’s use of technology and establishing the Real Time Crime Center, and in [Chief Bobby Cummings’] announcement that every officer in the Wilmington Police Department is to operate within the context of community policing.”

    Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams issued a statement shortly after the report’s release. 

    “The Police Foundation’s assessment validates that the Wilmington Police Department is headed in the right direction and has achieved significant progress under the leadership of Chief Bobby Cummings,” Williams said. “Of the remaining recommendations that have not been implemented, the assessment found that the administration proposed several of them before city council for approval, but unfortunately they were never acted on.”

    Williams continued that WPD must continue to focus its attention on improving community relationships with police, ending his statement with: “Until we truly invest in putting more people into well paying jobs instead of more well funded jails, we will continue to struggle against the violence that plagues our city’s most dangerous neighborhoods. We must end the futile attempts to simply arrest our way out of this problem and come together collectively to provide the educational resources and economic opportunities Wilmington residents so desperately need and deserve.”

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