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Wilmington Police Department launches new community program at Warner Elementary School

Delaware Public Media

A new youth engagement program at Wilmington’s Warner Elementary School is designed to build on the relationships police officers have with city kids.

The “Cops and Kids After School” initiative was announced by Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy, and will be piloted at Warner Elementary.

The program will be led by Corporal Semaja Banks. She’s assigned to the patrol district that includes the school, and works with a lot of the kids at Warner.

The 10-week program consists of meetings between police officers and fifth graders attending Warner each week and includes physical fitness activities, various training, and learning sessions.

Chief Tracy explains some of the topics that will be discussed.

"Conflict resolution: that's huge especially with all children very impulsive, teaching them how to slow things down. Almost de-escalation. Crime Scene Investigation: introduced what we need to do. Why we do things, and why we hold zones if something happens to collect evidence and show them exactly how we're looking for and how we establish cases. Drug awareness: this day and age with Fentanyl, one pill can kill," said Tracy.

The program also features St. Francis EMS offering first aid lessons while the Wilmington Fire Department discusses arson and fire safety.

Tracy says the goal is simple.

"To really connect with our youth and using the schools and working together with the Department of Education and making sure that we can be good partners," said Tracy.

This initiative is inspired by conversations between Cpl. Banks and Warner’s former principal Dr. Terrance Newton. Newton tragically died in a motorcycle crash earlier this year.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.