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.
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.