Wilm. Police Chief unveils new policing plan

By Tom Lehman 4:05pm, February 21, 2013 - Updated 9:59pm, February 21, 2013
Wilmington Police Chief Christine Dunning discusses the public safety crime plan.
Wilmington's police chief takes the wraps off the city's public safety crime plan at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.

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Chief Christine Dunning says officers will employ a situational approach to address crime occurring at each of the city's communities.

"Each neighborhood has different sets of problems and different involvements in what is going out on the street," Dunning says.

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Officers on patrol will receive real-time crime statistics in the vehicles, as well as information on calls from city residents. Dunning says the measure will allow officers to directly engage the community directly as will not have to wait to be dispatched to respond to an incident.

Under the plan, officers in specialized departments will be moved to the patrol division to try and disrupt an "open air" drug market.

By implementing a situational approach, Dunning believes officers will be able to apply a more diverse set of strategies in different neighborhoods. The plan calls for officers to communicate with community members and educate them on city services and what is actually considered a police matter.

City cops will also target nuisance properties and landlords and involving city departments such as Licenses and Inspections in those instances.

"Sometimes you can't address it through one tactic, you have to use several tactics," she says.

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Dunning also says the department will establish a street crime unit and expand its gun unit.

The gun unit will serve as a liaison between the department and ATF. The street crime unit can be used to investigate lesser street crimes and will be composed of patrol officers detectives and vice officers.

Officers will also begin wearing cameras for their safety in addition to computer system upgrades in vehicles.

She also called on state lawmakers to eliminate low cash bails for gun crimes and the ability to plead down to lesser firearm charges.

"It is essential because we don't want to make it easy for criminals to return back to our streets," she says.

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She also says officers will also begin wearing cameras to help improve their safety in the field.

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