Williams: Possible police shake-up not limited to leadership

By Tom Lehman 3:37pm, December 4, 2013 - Updated 11:47pm, December 5, 2013
Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams speaks with WDEL's Rick Jensen show on Wednesday regarding a potential shake-up of the city's police department.
Mayor Williams said Wednesday that a spike in shootings and violent crime in Wilmington prompted him to mull a top-to-bottom shake-up of the police department.

WDEL's Tom Lehman has more.

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Although the mayor's office said the city saw a 24 percent drop in overall crime during the first six months of the year, Williams told WDEL's Rick Jensen Show that a recent increase in violent crime and shootings caused him to consider some departmental changes.

"Management is where we're looking at, we're also looking at some lower level police officers and this is going to turn around," he said.

The department is led by Chief Christine Dunning and inspectors Bobby Cummings and Victor Ayala, all of whom were appointed by Williams in January.

Williams said a change in leadership may be required because the number of shootings remains high. He previously told WDEL that adjustments needed to be made and he would seek alternate leadership if changes didn't occur.

"If these folks that are in leadership at this time can't make changes here, things have to change," he said. "If you're in a baseball game and the pitcher is getting knocked out the park and you keep giving up home runs, you need to bring in a relief pitcher."

The mayor reiterated that he thinks there are pockets of resistance to his administration from within the department and that he wouldn't tolerate the "insubordination."

"Anybody that doesn't want to get on this train and work to make this a better city might as well put their retirement papers in or get on the train going out," he says.

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Officers need to be more aggressive during patrols as under his policing plan, he said.

"I just think that we need to get out of our cars more and confront these folks more, I really do--that's my personal opinion," he said.

The mayor says officers are being trained on how to stop and detain people in a way that's constitutionally sound. He says that strategy will cut down on violent crime.

"When you do a preventative patrol, you make people think twice about carrying firearms and confronting people and doing violence in the street."

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