Mayor Dennis Williams announced today that the Wilmington Police Department will form a dedicated homicide unit as early as next week. The Movement for a Culture of Peace supports the mayor’s new initiative. Our diverse new movement—with more than 40 community- and faith-group partners—joins other anti-violence activists that have urged this for some time in thanking the mayor for this important decision.
Although Mayor Williams did no give details about how the success of the unit will be measured, it will consist of four detectives and a supervisor. Wilmington was recently included in a new U.S. Department of Justice initiative to stem violence in some of America’s most murder-prone cities. Of the 21 deaths by gun violence in Wilmington during 2014, just three arrests have been made, according to Police Chief Bobby Cummings.
“We had to form this homicide squad,” Williams said during a news conference, reversing a previous position that such a unit would have little effect on the high rate of gun deaths in the city. “I may have held off a little too long,” said the mayor, “but we wanted to do it right.”
Public pressure may have played a part. One of the three calls to action of the Movement for a Culture of Peace, which drew about 400 members of the community to a march and rally on Sept. 27, was the creation of a homicide unit. We applaud Mayor Williams and the Police Department for this forward-looking action.
Delaware’s public radio WDDE had the first confirmation from the mayor of an earlier story in the News-Journal:
Tonight, the News-Journal reported that federal agents will be part of the enhanced police unit: