I Dunno About Wilmo’s New Police Chief

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on April 15, 2017

Bob Tracy’s got a lot to prove.

Possibly more than any large city in the country, Chicago’s police force has been singled out for excessive force, institutional racism, and corruption.  From this NYTimes article:

“C.P.D.’s own data gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color,” the task force wrote. “Stopped without justification, verbally and physically abused, and in some instances arrested, and then detained without counsel — that is what we heard about over and over again.”

The report reinforces complaints made for decades by African-American residents who have said they were unfairly singled out by officers without justification on a regular basis, then ignored when they raised complaints.

Yet, Wilmington has chosen an officer who left as part of the purge of those associated with CPD policies. In fact, he was a close ally of Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.  From the News-Journal story:

“I left just at a time that City Hall looked like they wanted to make changes,” he said. “I think it was probably time for a change. They were going in a new direction, and I figured, ‘let them go in that direction’ and move on to the private sector.”

Tracy was a ‘chief crime strategist’ in Chicago at a time that violent crime in the Windy City was growing exponentially.

Oh, and did I mention that Wilmington City Council, at the request of Mayor Purzycki, raised the salary of the incoming chief from $117, 073 to $160,000?

Look, none of this is to say that the newly installed police chief won’t be successful. But, Wilmington has hired someone who was a key player in a failed police department that set itself above the law, particularly when it came to violating the civil liberties of many of its citizens.  As a strategist, he presided over a strategy that failed.  And Wilmington’s taxpayers just raised the chief’s salary by $43,000 so that they could attract him.

I have to wonder just exactly what it was that convinced the Mayor that this guy was the perfect fit for Wilmington.

I wish him all the best.  But we would do well to keep our eyes open and view his performance with at least a healthy dose of skepticism.

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  1. Gymrat says:

    A white guy from a fairly well documented racist police environment. What could go wrong?

  2. chris says:

    They needed someone from outside the department. Mayor Williams promised to bring in an outsider when he ran, then chose two Wilmington cops (Dunning and Cummings) as his Chiefs. Neither proved successful in the job. Wilmington needs an outsider who will hold his captains and inspectors ACCOUNTABLE for reductions in crime.

  3. Agreed. But it doesn’t look like Tracy has any experience in personnel management, and there’s a legit question as to how effective he was in Chicago. It looks like he might have sold the Mayor a bill of goods.

    In Cassandra’s piece on Blue Delaware:

    https://bluedelaware.com/2017/04/14/wilmington-has-a-new-police-chief/

    she quotes the following:

    “The department’s data tool, CompStat, put pressure on police personnel to decrease crime numbers, the magazine stated in its April 2014 report which relied on information from unnamed sources within the department and several case studies. “The department’s decrease in crime was in part attributed to changes to crime designations in the system, such as downgrading a homicide to “death investigation,” the magazine reported.

    Those findings were supported by a 2014 audit by the Chicago Inspector General, which found a 24 percent undercount in victim offenses and 21 percent error rate in the reporting sample the office examined. A follow-up audit the following year stated that the Chicago Police Department had fully corrected the problem.”

    Sounds like fudging to me. Especially since things were really going downhill in Chi-town at the end of Tracy’s tenure. From the NYTimes article:

    “The stinging findings come at a particularly volatile time here, as violent crimes have increased this year and as police morale is reported to have sunk. Murders are up 62 percent this year compared with a year ago, Chicago police statistics show, and shootings have increased by 78 percent.”

    Doesn’t fill me full of confidence.

  4. LashLarue says:

    Hopefully Chicago was an anomoly for Tracy. He’s NYPD born and bred. The safest big city on the planet. NYPD does a decent job holding it’s “leaders” accountable. Remain cautiously optimistic. If he can get rid of some dead weight he will have a chance to be successful, if not nothing will change.

  5. That’s another good point. I remember that whenever a governor brought someone in to reform DELDOT, the lifers knew they could just wait ‘em out.

    Hope that’s not the case here.

  6. Bane says:

    Not being able to end crime in Chicago doesn’t mean that he can’t be successful here. To be fair, 28 homicides for the year in Wilmington brings talk of needing the National Guard. In Chicago, 28 homicides is a long weekend.

  7. chris says:

    FYI_ Chicago’s population is 2.7 million people. Wilmington is maybe 75,000.

  8. Gerald maynes says:

    I thought this was a strange choice. Why would you hire someone, who couldn’t stop the Carnage in Chicago and expect a different result in Wilmington. As far S rasing the salary for this position, it’s about time. In New Milford New Jersey, The Chief , makes 200,000 a year with overtime to run a 15 person department. How else could day get quality help from the outside?