Wilmington joins federal network to better tackle crime [video]

 (Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

(Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

The City of Wilmington will soon have better access to federal resources and support to bring down crime.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams made the announcement on Monday at the Wilmington Train Station before both headed to Washington, D.C. to meet with the U.S. Department of Justice which has launched a Violence Reduction Network.

According to Sen. Coons, Wilmington is one of five cities selected to participate in the network where various experts and law enforcement officials have had some success in reducing crime in other areas. They will assist Wilmington officials under this program.

Mayor Williams cautioned people that this is just one piece to the puzzle that only helps.

“It gives us access to grants. It gives us access to criminal justice professionals.  The bureaucracy is out of it now because we are linked together,” said Williams who emphasized that there are number of things already in place as well to tackle crime in the city.

Chicago, Detroit, Oakland and Camden, NJ are also participating in the Violence Reduction Network that Sen. Coons said is more so about strategy and how to do smarter policing with current tools.

“We are going to be working with folks from A.T.F., F.B.I., from the U.S. Marshals, and from D.E.A. and through them getting access to the insight and the resources of the Federal Department of Justice,” said Sen. Coons.

For the past two years, the senator voiced to federal officials the challenges faced in Wilmington regarding violence and how the network could help Delaware’s largest city.

However, despite the partnership the mayor pointed out that the Wilmington Police Department will remain an independent department. “Wilmington police (department) is run by Chief Bobby Cummings who will partner with anyone who is trying to help the city,” said Williams.

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