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Wilmington City Council approves police grant application after delay

Delaware Public Media

Wilmington City Council okayed a police department equipment grant application, weeks after delaying it amid discussion of body-worn cameras.


Council members voted to approve the Wilmington Police Department’s $100,000 grant request to the state Criminal Justice Council for ten crowd control vehicles, called “Trikkes,” that resemble electric scooters. 

Council delayedthe application at its last meeting. Some council members argued the police union may want to negotiate policies surrounding the possible new equipment, as it is doing with body cameras. President of Wilmington’s Fraternal Order of Police lodge Greg Ciotti said the union likely would not.

Some council members also objected to allowing the department to acquire what they characterized as “toys” before getting equipment such as body-worn cameras. 

Councilwoman Yolanda McCoy voted to approve the grant application this week.

“I really want to make certain that people are aware that we need the surveillance cameras, and I need the police to be looking for the grants to take care of those things,” she said. “I don’t think that by turning down their little wish list item is going to get me the cameras any faster. I just need my cameras.”

Helen Fuhrmann, a resident of the Quaker Hill neighborhood, opposed the grant application. She argued the biggest public safety problem in Wilmington is gun violence. 

“Getting ten Trikkes for a hundred grand— you could get a [surveillance] camera installed for $800,” she said. “You could get 120 cameras alone for that, and you could cover at least that drug loop in on West [Street] and out on Washington [Street].”

Council members emphasized that the grant money would not be able to be used for other types of equipment. 

The police department says it plans to apply for a federal grant to fund body-worn cameras if it becomes available in the coming months. A proposal to fund them through a city budget amendment has stalled.

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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