More than six months after taking over as Wilmington Police Chief, Bob Tracy was officially sworn in Monday afternoon.
Tracy was able to put on his Wilmington Police uniform for the first time Monday after completing training and being certified by the Delaware Council on Police Training. Tracy said it was important for him to undergo the same training other officers in the department and in the state have to go through before donning his Wilmington Police uniform.
“It’s really important to really be all the way in, be in uniform, be a sworn police officer in the state of Delaware, and putting this uniform on, it couldn’t be more of an honor,” Tracy said.
Since being appointed by Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, Tracy said he’s seen progress in the way officers are getting involved with Wilmington residents when not responding to calls for service. “We’re getting better at engaging in the community, that’s how we’re going to have success,” Tracy said after taking his oath and getting his badge pinned by Purzycki. “Community engagement is something we get away from because of technology.”
Tracy was chosen from Chosen from a field of 35 applicants from across the country, Tracy most recently worked with the Chicago Police Department, serving five years there as deputy chief of crime strategies. During his tenure from 2011 to 2016, the mayor said Chicago experienced the lowest murder rate in 50 years and the lowest overall crime rate since 1972.
Wilmington’s violent crime has remained stubbornly high in recent years. So far this year, the city has seen at least 184 shooting victims and 29 have died.
“I know some of the things that have worked in the past with evidence-based policing, with intelligence-led policing, with fair and impartial policing … these are things working with everybody in this room and working with the community that we can make a difference,” Tracy said.
He said he’s seen crime ridden areas that seemed lost causes be turned around. “I saw places like New York go from 2,245 murders in the early 90s, to almost less than 300 this year, and a crime reduction over 98 percent in every single crime category, and that didn’t happen by accident.” Tracy said that improvement happened because the NYPD implemented “business management principles applied to police work.”
Tracy believes a similar system that’s now in place in Wilmington can reduce violent crime here.