Dunning leaves Wilm. PD as officer for last time

By Tom Lehman 12:22am, January 25, 2014 - Updated 10:20pm, January 25, 2014
Christine Dunning, who resigned as Wilmington's chief of police this week, concluded her 27 years of service in a "walk-out" ceremony at the department on Friday.

WDEL's Tom Lehman reports...

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Flanked by officers on either side, Dunning, who became Wilmington's first female police chief last year, left headquarters in a procession that included bagpipes and drums. She called the experience bittersweet.

"It's part of your identity when you're a police officer and you'll still hold onto that but I'm ready for moving onto the retirement realm," she said.

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Dunning, 51, is taking a job with New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon's administration as an executive assistant, approximately one year after her appointment as police chief.

Her departure comes after Mayor Dennis P. Williams told WDEL last month that he was considering a shake-up of police department leadership as Wilmington experienced a record number of shootings in 2013.

Williams later backed Dunning at public meetings, but the administration announced on Tuesday that she had decided to retire from the department.

The mayor said Dunning made the decision on her own and a nationwide search would be conducted to find her replacement.

"I just wish whoever comes in or whoever is the next chief best wishes. I was very happy and I have to thank the mayor for giving me and providing me with that opportunity," Dunning said.

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Dunning's immediate successor is Inspector Bobby Cummings, who was named interim police chief.

Following the announcement of Dunning's departure, Williams said Cummings could compete to become the new chief.

"In the transition that we're going through right now, our task will remain the same: to provide safety for the citizens of the City of Wilmington," Cummings said.

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Among the well-wishers who attended the ceremony was Councilwoman Sherry Dorsey-Walker (D-District 6), who said Dunning did a "phenomenal job."

The councilwoman said she was especially thankful for Dunning's community involvement while police investigated the alleged rapes of two women at Kosciuszko Park last year.

"She came to every press conference, came to every prayer vigil that we had and for that I will be eternally grateful," she said.

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