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Wilmington Police Chief gets no confidence vote from City Council

Sophia Schmidt
Delaware Public Media

Wilmington City Council passes a no confidence vote against Police Chief Robert Tracy.

Months after praising Chief Tracy and the mayor for listening to the council and community and graduating a diverse police academy class, Council President Trippi Congo presented and voted for the resolution showing no confidence in Tracy for an overall lack of diversity in the police force.

"It lacks diversity especially in the higher rankings of our officers. I just want Chief Tracy to do the right thing. I'm not trying to fire him. I'm not trying to defund the police, some people may. I want to give him an opportunity to do the right thing, and I think I have been extremely fair and extremely patient with Chief Tracy," said Congo.

Even though he’s not blaming Tracy for the city’s high homicide and crime numbers, he did criticize Tracy for not being vocal and proactive about plans to combat crime.

Congo says Tracy’s explanation that not enough minorities are applying for promotions doesn’t hold water.

"There's no sample where that is even relevant because they don't see people who look like them in higher positions, and when they do see them their authority has been stripped by Chief Tracy," said Congo.

The vote passed 6-to-4 with one voting present, one absent, and there’s one vacancy.

Councilman James Spadola says pinning the lack of diversity on Tracy isn’t right.

"Recruitment is a nightmare everywhere. Lack of diversity is a nightmare in every city. To simply put it on the chief I think that just is a major disservice," said Spadola.

Some on council voiced displeasure about the lack of communication from Tracy about the city’s homicide and crime numbers.

In a statement, Mayor Mike Purzycki said the no confidence vote does a terrible disservice to the reputation of Tracy who has served the city well, and has the mayor’s unqualified support.

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.