WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

New sense of urgency from Mayor Williams

Joining our upstate morning team (Peter MacArthur & Mellany Armstrong) for their regularly scheduled Tuesday morning chat with Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams, I heard a new urgency and tone from the mayor following the unceasing violence in the city. (The latest: Two women, sitting on the front porch of a row house on the 600 block of West Sixth Street, shot after 10 p.m. Monday, apparently innocent victims caught in an exchange of gunfire).

The mayor repeatedly asserted he was prepared to make changes in his administration, anything it took to reverse the spate of shootings and other bloodshed. I interpreted that as meaning changes in the leadership of the Wilmington Police Department.

Mayor Williams: "We are going to continue to pursue these folks (perpetrators of violence). We are going to win this battle. Even if I have to do what Lincoln did and find new leadership. When he found Sherman, he won the war. If I have to start looking and make some adjustments, I'm going to do that..."

Peter MacArthur: "Where would you be looking at new leadership, Mayor?"

Mayor Williams: "(There's) a possibility that I'd be looking all over..."

Peter MacArthur: "Are we talking about within the police... where exactly?"

Mayor Williams: "I'm talking about the command staff of the police department, yes. I had a meeting with them yesterday and brought them in, and told them, 'This can't go on any longer. We have to make some adjustments here. Things have to change. If things don't change, I will be looking for new leadership.' You can put me on record to say that..."

Lest we forget, mayoral candidate Dennis Williams pledged to choose a police chief from outside the force, someone who could bring new ideas to fighting the city's chronic bloodshed; then, broke that promise by elevating Wilmimgton Police Captain Christine Dunning to Chief of Police.. although candidate Williams also promised to put women in high positions.

(In a way, it might have been unfair for the mayor to have put Dunning in that position. But I suspect neither truly comprehended how 2013 would see such an upturn in the spasm of street violence.)

Of course, it's one thing to buy time just by suggesting heads will roll and then doing it. It's quite another to identify and lure someone from the outside with outstanding credentials in the area of curbing street violence. But one can tell: This mayor's rattled.

Posted at 8:34am on December 3, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Tue, Dec 3, 2013 10:35am
The Mayor is now talking out of desperation. He really does not have a clue what should be done. He just wants to find someone, anyone, from anywhere, who can save his administration. What is needed is a new mayor who has a plan to save Wilmington.

Mr. Lincoln sought out new leadership while there was still time to win the war. Does the Mayor still have that time? I believe the gangs have already won the war.

Look at Chicago during Prohibition. The various gang/mob leaders ran the city. There was still “government” per se, but the mob leaders picked who was elected. In the end, it took the F.B.I. and the end of Prohibition to bring order to the city.

What can we look forward to in Wilmington? Until we have the realization that it is a regional problem not confined to Wilmington, there will not be a solution. Congress will not legalize drugs. The F.B.I. will not be involved. The drug bosses do not fear the Mayor, so they will not respect him. We have three really bad years in front of us.

Tue, Dec 3, 2013 11:29am
What is a new police commissioner going to do? Unless he brings in Commissioner Gordon and he brings Batman with him, the societal issues will continue.

Tue, Dec 3, 2013 11:30am
The story is about the mayor and urban violence and still Allan Loudell manages to make the lede about him.
And further down we arrive at the typical public sector solution to any problem: Fire somebody. Bring in somebody cold without any background or experience in a problem and expect that person to do a better job.

Unless, of course, the current head cop is grossly negligent or incompetent to begin with. Then firing draws attention away from who gave this person the job in the first place.

Heaven forfend any idea should be discussed that means spending more money. Then the tea-baggers who form the audience for right-wing talk radio will get their collective shorts in a knot. Their solution: If those two women sitting on the stoop had guns themselves, this wouldn't have happened.

Abe Lincoln sought out "new leadership" several times - all to get rid of guys he hired in the first place. All because he refused to negotiate with the Southern states. Why? Because the Whig/Republican party kept the South as a cheap (and captive) source for raw materials, and as a captive market for costly manufactured products. It's called mercantilism; the same economic philosophy that started the revolution 84 years earlier.

Tue, Dec 3, 2013 12:24pm
"Then the tea-baggers who form the audience for right-wing talk radio will get their collective shorts in a knot. Their solution: If those two women sitting on the stoop had guns themselves, this wouldn't have happened."

sillywilly: The "tea-baggers" are backed up by Interpol on the value of CCW... if the "bad guys" fear return fire, they will move on to another neighborhood that is a "gun-free" zone.

The number of CCW permits in the Sandy Hook area have skyrocketed as people now realize that the police only show up AFTER the mayhem happens, and not during the "event".

Tue, Dec 3, 2013 11:26pm
Earl... That is a stretch. The gun permits rose because many thought that privilege might get voted out after Sandy Hook and wanted to be grandfathered in when legislation banning guns passed....

It appears that on another issue, Progressives and Teabaggers agree, against the spineless wishy-washies holding the center...

Guiianize Wilmington...

I would recommend the mayor stop his talks to the media until this is fixed. He sounds just like one of my underlings who is about to be fired and sputters how he will do better, but obviously can't and doesn't know how...

Again Dennis. stop saying "stop and frisk." Say we'll round up the loiterers and jaywalkers instead... It will make a big difference when the legal challenges come... They will come, and Wilmington will beat them... So Round them suckers up.... any suckers.. it doesn't matter.

Here is a clip on how a real mayor should act and speak... its from around Guiliani's time...


Tue, Dec 3, 2013 11:29pm
If Dennis is looking to the outside, Rudy Guiliani is looking for work.

Wed, Dec 4, 2013 5:25am
In case anyone missed it... it is not "stop and frisk".. that is a term coined by the ACLU as a derogatory description...

it is about ridding ourselves of "loiterers and jaywalkers."

"Hey, you two! You're loitering. I'm taking you in for processing. Turn around, put your hands behind you, then get in the back seat of the car... Let's go; next time, don't come out unless you have someplace to go... Ahhhh, save me your speeches; you were loitering; tell it to the judge."

Wed, Dec 4, 2013 5:32am
Since it appears some don't know how this works... I'll continue ...

"What's the judge gonna do?"

"Well, if you're clean, bud, probably nothing for the first offense... maybe a small fine. But if we bring you in again a second time, it gets worse and if a third time, we find something to put you away... But as long as you learn your lesson the first time, it really about the wait... they're backed up. Takes about 10 hours to get out... Of course that is if you don't have a warrant out for you."

"I'll sue."

"Go ahead. Lawyers cost about a $1000 an hour... Good luck with that."

Wed, Dec 4, 2013 9:07am
So kavips...you too have fallen to the Middle School level and are name calling your opposition "Tea bagger"...how sad, I thought you were better than that. I thought you would at least up the ante and go for Teahadist or something else a little more creative.

I'm sure part of the rise in CCW permits was to beat any upcoming changes in law against law-abiding citizen's ability to defend themselves/their families...but in either case, it was a 300% increase in permits.

I must admit I'm surprised you are in favor of stop/frisk...aren't Progressives against such tactics? Or is that only if they themselves were "patted down"?

Wed, Dec 4, 2013 9:32am
"Rudy Guiliani is looking for work." I saw him the other night. He's doing cable TV infomercials. Plus I understand he gets to make a lot of speeches.
Bloomberg's about to be out of work but he doesn't need money.
Jack Webb is dead. So is Jack Lord.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Dec 4, 2013 5:44pm
I heard Rudy Giuliani on the radio today pitching an identity theft product.

little skippy
Thu, Dec 5, 2013 1:14pm
Sadly, no matter what decision is ultimately made, things are NOT going to improve in a few months. The residents of these troubled neighbors are taking a bad rap for the doings of a minuscule handful of misguided individuals. Additionally, are there gangs tying to muscle into Wilmo's drug trade that we have not be made aware of? From the outside looking in, and maybe I've been watching too much TV, it sure looks like it. The only good thing about it all is that basically they've only been targeting each other. I would suspect that many of these shooters are from outside Wilmo, like maybe Philly, Balto, or NYC. Just say'n.

Thu, Dec 5, 2013 1:31pm
Welcome to the blog little skippy.

I-95 makes Wilmington a great spot for trafficking drugs...close to NYC, Philly and Baltimore but it has a much smaller police force compared to the other "big cities".

little skippy
Thu, Dec 5, 2013 7:48pm
True, that these cities have more officers, but, based on a recent NJ story, Wilmo has more officers per capita than the national average, AND more per capita than many big cities. More officers isn't necessarily the solution. Like any good "team", it's success often depends more on the quality of the leadership, than the team itself. A team with great talent is nothing with poor leadership and players with bad attitudes.

Sun, Dec 8, 2013 12:54am
I was one of those who had great hopes for Williams. I praised his choice of Dunning.

I heard Williams on Jensen. Jensen was going light on him, but did pull out that something was up.... something big.

We find out what it was the next day in the News Journal... it was a "big" talking session. Nothing more. "WE are going to protect the downtown businesses.." it was.

Uhhhh. Excuse me? That is not the problem... "Sorry ma'am, that you got a bullet up your butt, but protecting citizens is not our priority... our businesses are safe... In fact, we haven't had shooting there since the National Guard left....that's how good our police force is."

I've now lost hope it will get better. They just don't seem to have a clue how to get it done...

Mon, Dec 9, 2013 11:34am
Borrowed from the police force's defense of Dunning:

"The Mayor promised a stronger, more active Community Policing unit and then cut their numbers by more than half, he promised the formation and support of a gun squad, which was highly successful while it existed, but he ordered it disbanded after half a year of existence. It should come as no surprise that a vast majority of all violence in Wilmington is committed by drug offenders against other drug offenders, but Mayor Williams also ordered the Drug unit to be cut nearly in half. He has canceled federal task forces, ended year's long partnerships with other agencies, and kept staffing levels in the Patrol Division stagnant despite promises for more uniforms on the street, all the while shouting that he is tough on crime...."

So,,, Is the mayor the real problem?

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