Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams' farewell address highlights successes
Outgoing Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams sat in the audience while his farewell address was presented via video Wednesday night.
The video highlighted Williams’ achievements – like tripling the number of summer jobs for city youth and doubling the amount of city-sponsored festivals.
Policing was another major topic.
The video checked off public safety initiatives implemented during his tenure – like the Real Time Crime Center – along with accomplishments, such as graduating the most diverse police academy class in city history and creating the city's first homicide unit.
"I’m the first mayor to have a dedicated police force downtown Wilmington and the Riverfront," Williams said. "This is needed. Businesses are very vital to our survival. We must be able to protect our communities as well as our business districts.”
Afterwards, Williams said he hopes his successor will continue at least two policing initiatives – operation DISRUPT and an anti-gang unit.
“If you don’t have these two - which are working well very well now – you can have a disruption and your crime will start to rise again. And when that starts to happen, it’s hard to get a handle on it.”
University of Delaware PhD candidate Darryl Chambers is one of 12 members of Mike Purzycki’s policing transition team.
He sees the new administration seeking to build on aspects of Williams’ approach.
“I think Mayor Williams' administration has actually tried to be more proactive," Chambers said. "And let’s look at stuff before it happens. So before it becomes a law enforcement issue, because we know we can’t lock our way out of this.”
One such preventative initiative he pointed to: crime prevention through community design, which involves things like more street lighting.