To keep or not to keep Chief Dunning

    The Mayor is the man in charge, and he has a right, a responsibility to do what he sees that needs to be done at whatever level in his administration.

    Here is John Watson’s commentary:

    At the moment, the rate of shootings in the city has broken the 2010 record of 42 gun shot cases. The new record is 149 for 2013, with 17 homicides to boot. We still have over three more weeks left in December. So look out, be careful, and if you see something, say something, if it relates to crime in your neighborhood.

    Eventually, the mayor will decide what should be done. His statements about his thoughts on the matter has everyone thinking he is planning on removing Police Chief Christine Dunning from office.

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    On several occasions, when asked about his plans to handle the situation, Williams said, “We have to make some adjustments here, things have to change. If things don’t change, I will be looking for new leadership and you can put me on record for saying that.” 

    On other occasions, Williams said, “I’m talking about the command staff and the police department.”. And this has too many people -I think- TOO many people in high places, interpreting the his remarks to mean he is considering replacing the first female police chief in the history of Wilmington. The mayor never said that.

    When pressed on the topic during interviews, he avoids going the far. But that doesn’t stop people like Wilmington Councilman Mike Brown, who accuses Williams of micromanaging the police force and Chief Dunning from his office. And he is quoted in published reports as saying the mayor has yet to articulate a clear police strategy beyond being aggressive and employing a “stop and frisk” tactic on suspected criminals.

    He went on to say, Chief Dunning has a tough ladder to climb, with too many levels of people to deal with before making a decision. And some think she has to meet with the mayor before making a decision.

    But, there is some good news about replacing Police Chief Christine Dunning, if that’s what Mayor Williams is planing on doing. And so far, there is no such evidence. And almost everyone I hear from, is opposed to replacing Dunning, including city Council President Theo Gregory, and almost all of the council members, except for two.

    Trippi Congo, who says he doesn’t know if the mayor is giving Chief Dunning directives that she doesn’t follow, but somethings needs to be done about a greater police presence, because, he says, “Residents are scared”.

    And Charles “Bud” Freel says, he hears that Mayor Williams is the one calling the shots, and that he will accept responsibility for what happens. But Feel says, if the mayor isn’t happy about the way things are going, he isn’t “sure it’s fair to place all of the blame on the police chief for not improving things.”

    I hope Mayor Williams doesn’t make another mistake, like he did, in my opinion, when he dismissed Velda Jones-Potter, his chief strategy adviser, in the Foxtail controversy. If she was still with him, the mayor would have the right person he needs, to help him make the strategic decision, to keep or dismiss Chief Dunning, in the fight against the Wilmington criminal element.

    I’m sure Dunning already has some good plans to fight the good fight against the criminal element. A new chief of police would have to start from scratch. Do we have time for that? I think not.

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