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Wilmington City Council bans ticket and arrest quotas for police

Sophia Schmidt
Delaware Public Media

Wilmington’s police chief says his department does not currently require officers to make quotas for tickets and arrests. But Council voted Thursday to ban them anyway. 

Lone Republican Councilman James Spadola—a former police officer—sponsored the measure. He says it will prevent quotas from being established under some future police chief, and gets rid of the perception that there could be quotas now. 

“It protects police officers from being or feeling forced to make arrests,” he said. “It enables them to use their discretion and focus on solving the problem.”

Police Chief Robert Tracy also opposes ticket and arrest quotas, saying during a committee meeting last month that they erode police legitimacy. 

Spadola said the ban is something both “Blue Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter” supporters can get behind. 

But Councilwoman Shané Darby said she supported the measure just for the community. 

“I know in other locations that have ticket and arrest quotas, Black and brown people are disproportionately impacted,” she said. “Imagine how many people across this nation are sitting in prison because of things like this.”

Council also approved a resolution recognizing the need to start a new police academy to fill vacancies—despite opposition from some council members, including Darby, protesting what they see as insufficient diversity on the force and calling for social workers and mental health clinicians to replace some officers. 


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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