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Lawmakers allocate $2.1M in settlement funds for Wilmington, Dover police

Delaware Public Media

The General Assembly's budget writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC) has approved a plan to use some banking crisis settlement funds to address a rising tide of violence in Wilmington and Dover.

The news comes just under a month after Attorney General Matt Denn and community leaders asked for an immediate share of the settlement money, which was meant to offset harm from the 2008 financial crisis.

Leaders say that harm includes foreclosures that led to an upsurge in neighborhood gun violence in Delaware's largest cities. But legislators have been slow to earmark any of the funds to respond to that violence.

Now, following the AG's emergency request in November, the JFC voted to allocate about $2.1 million of the total $36 million in settlements Wednesday.

Under the plan, Wilmington will get just over $1.5 million to pay for more local, county and state police patrols. It'll also cover a state police analyst to work with city cops on using data to target policing at troubled areas.

Wilmington will also work with the Police Foundation to examine the status of recommendations set by the city's public safety strategies commission this year.

Dover, meanwhile, will get just under $600,000 for more police patrols as well as video equipment.

In a statement, Gov. Jack Markell lauded the Joint Finance Committee's move, saying it will let the state "move quickly to stem gun violence."


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