Wilm. City Council reacts to public safety plan

By Tom Lehman 10:38pm, February 21, 2013 - Updated 2:27pm, February 22, 2013
Wilmington City Council members reacted to the Mayor Williams' public safety crime plan at their Thursday night meeting.

The plan, unveiled by police chief Christine Dunning earlier in the day, focuses officers' efforts toward situational policing, expands the gun crime unit and establishes a street crime unit.

The public safety plan received a mixed response among council members.

Councilman Mike Brown, who is also the chair of the group's public safety committee, says he wants to support the mayor's and his policing plan, but thought it lacked detail.

"I had hoped that the plan would provide information about the need to make officers more visible in the community, for them to exit their vehicles and walk through neighborhoods to learn who the people are and what their crime problems are," Brown says.

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Councilman "Trippi" Congo disagreed, calling the plan thorough and defended the mayor against criticism that he was inactive early in his term.

"I don't think that's really fair to put that kind of burden on one man, when we're all responsible for making this a better city," Congo says.

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Councilwoman Loretta Walsh thinks it's important to remember that the plan remains a work-in-progress since the department remains understaffed.

"In order for anything to be extremely successful, we're going to have to be a little bit better on our numbers right now," Walsh says.

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Council members received a briefing on the policing plan at a committee meeting last week.

Council voices opposition to SB 7

Council members also unanimously pass a resolution opposing efforts by state lawmakers to make the position of city auditor an elected office beginning next year.

The body's president, Theo Gregory, says the state senate bill shouldn't be passed, so that the position wouldn't be subject to a "popularity contest."

He also specified that he also opposed the bill because it he wanted to avoid significant changes to the city's charter.

State Senator Bobby Marshall is the sponsor of SB7.

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