Wilmington City Council votes “No Confidence” against Wilmington Police Chief Tracy

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A slap in the face to the Wilmington community, Wilmington City Council passed a resolution of a “No Confidence” vote against Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy.

WILMINGTON (DE) BY DIGITAL STAFF: In a stunning blow to the integrity of the city of Wilmington and a slap in the face to the Wilmington community, Wilmington City Council passed a resolution of a “No Confidence” vote against Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy at a special public safety meeting.

The “Special” public safety meeting was held on Thursday January 20, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. and was virtual due to the recent COVID-19 surge Delaware has been experiencing since the Thanksgiving holiday.

Photo Courtesy of WPD

The resolution, passed by a 6-4 vote. Council members that voted for the resolution were  Linda Gray (1st District Council Member), Shané Darby (2nd District Council Member), Zanthia Oliver (3rd District Council Member), Michelle Harlee (4th District Council Member), Yolanda McCoy (6th District Council Member), and City Council President Ernest Congo.

Those who voted against the resolution were Nathan Field (8th District Council Member), Maria Cabrera (Council Member At-Large), James Spadola (Council Member At-Large), Loretta Walsh (Council Member At-Large); and Present were: Chris Johnson (7th District Council Member) who expressed the “vote of no confidence” and recommends a third-party entity to audit the Wilmington Police Department be selected within 90 days. There was one vacancy.

Photo Courtesy of Wilmington City Council | President Ernest Congo

Wilmington City Council President, Ernest Congo said he just wants Chief Tracy to do the right thing. 

“I just want Chief Tracy to do the right thing. I’m not trying to fire him. I’m not trying to defund the police, although some people may, I just want to give him an opportunity to do the right thing.

Congo added, this is a vote in support of our constituents, and especially from the officers in the Wilmington Police Department who are extremely frustrated and demoralized when they don’t feel there is an opportunity to advance.”

“I do think that our chief needs to be more proactive, and more vocal about a plan, whether it’s a plan to combat crime, increase diversity, and a plan to improve morale.,” Congo said.

“I want to make sure that people don’t think that I’m blaming the chief or the police department for the crime in our city, nothing could be further from the truth, Congo said Thursday night. “I think that’s a conversation that is much bigger than our chief and the police department. They do play a role, but it’s definitely not his fault about the homicides in the city. But I do think that our chief needs to be more proactive, and more vocal about a plan, whether it’s a plan to combat crime, increase diversity, and a plan to improve morale.”

Wait, increase diversity? But Congo was in support of Wilmington Police’s diversity at a historic 100th Police Academy Graduation Ceremony on April 30, 2021.

“It meant a lot to me first time being at a police graduation and it really helped me to appreciate the academy wars.,” Congo said at the time in an interview with WITN22 News. Congo said he was very encouraged by the diversity of the 2021 centennial class which featured five black males and five females of varying races.

“This year’s a little different we’re going through a turbulent time thanks to the mayor and to chief Tracy for listening to council, listening to the community and making this 100 class a diverse academy to reprise to be representative of the community that we’re a part of, and I think it’ll go a long way in those relationships too soundly swear that i will support.,” Congo said as he spoke to the graduating class.

In response to the vote, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki says the vote does “a terrible disservice to the reputation of an outstanding professional who has served this city so well and who has my unqualified support.”

“This is a very sad day for our city. Council’s resolution this evening does a terrible disservice to the reputation of an outstanding professional who has served this city so well and who has my unqualified support. We have been fortunate to have Robert Tracy leading our department for the past four and a half years during one of the most difficult times for police departments in our nation’s history and I look forward to his continued leadership.,” Purzycki said in an email statement.

Although Congo doesn’t mention the officers who he says are “extremely frustrated and demoralized when they don’t feel there is an opportunity to advance.”, Michael Groark, President of the FOP Lodge No. 1 which represents the Wilmington Police Department, not only responded to the resolution vote but also said the FOP has not been made aware of any morale issues.

“FOP Lodge 1 is opposed to this resolution and disagrees with everything that was said in support of it. Contrary to the council president’s belief, he has no authority to speak for the rank and file of the Wilmington Police Department.,” Said Groark.

Groark added, “We are always engaged and working with Chief Tracy and the rest of the police command staff as to the working conditions and well being of all Wilmington Police officers, and furthermore are, and have always been, open to conversations with the legislative and the executive branches of Wilmington City government. To date, the FOP has not been made aware of any morale issues, however the FOP board of directors will reach out to the membership to confirm this.”

“I hold the Mayor responsible as well. This is his choice, this is his responsibility to make sure that his man steps up to the place and reacts to what we are talking about, and what our residents are talking about. I didn’t come up with this overnight, this has been years in the making.”

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