Wilmington to name new police chief next month [video]

 Police investigate a double homicide on N. Market St. in Wilmington on Tuesday morning. (File/WHYY)

Police investigate a double homicide on N. Market St. in Wilmington on Tuesday morning. (File/WHYY)

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki said he will likely name a new police chief within the next 30 days.

The mayor announced a nationwide search for someone to lead the Wilmington Police Department during his inauguration address last month. In an interview with WHYY and NewsWorks this week, Purzycki said Police Chief Bobby Cummings is vying for the job too.

“The chief has already indicated that he is competing and he intends to compete hard for this job,” Purzycki said. “We’re going to make a decision that’s best for our department wherever we go, but I feel pretty good about the way this whole exercise is going forward.”

The city has experienced a violent start to 2017 following a steady stream of shootings, some fatal. 

In response to the violence, Purzycki launched, “Operation Safe Streets,” in late January. The increased law enforcement operation draws upon federal, state and county officers to supplement the city’s police presence.

“It has helped to have additional officers out on the street. Additional police presence is always important,” Purzycki said. “Probably more important is that the public has been heartened by the idea that our governments can all work together with common purpose without any political infighting that, I think, has occurred in the past.”

In spite of the beefed-up police presence, crime remains an issue. Police are currently investigating a double homicide in the 2200 block of N. Market Street that occurred just before 11 a.m. on Tuesday. 

“What everybody seems to understand is this is a long-term proposition to turn this violence around. You have to understand how deeply-seeded, in some of our communities, this kind of propensity for violence is,” Purzycki explained. 

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You can watch this interview in its entirety Friday night at 5:30 and 11 p.m. on WHYY-TV. You can also find it online at WHYY.org/First.

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