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Wilmington Public Safety Committee rejects proposed Community Complaint Review Board changes

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Wilmington’s Public Safety Committee tables an ordinance that would give more power to the city’s Citizen Complaint Review Board.

Sponsored by 2nd District Councilwoman Shané Darby, the ordinance would eliminate a clause allowing the mayor’s office representative to be a Wilmington Police Department member.

The proposed ordinance also clarifies that no one on the board should have a law enforcement background or any type of government service background.

“So allowing the mayor administration to select potentially someone with a police law enforcement background, we'll lose exactly what a community review board is for," Darby says. "And best practices show that community review boards are successful when there are community experts on the board, not police officers or law enforcement related people.”

Darby says best practices show community review boards are successful when community experts on the board, not law enforcement.

Darby also wants to ensure all records are public.

“Everything needs to be public. It should not be at the discretion of the board to make that decision. It is a community community review board so the community should be able to read all notes about any meetings happening.”

Other council members expressed reservations to this – like Chris Johnson who says Darby’s suggestions are troubling.

“I agree there needs to be changes and tweaks. But I think some of these changes may not go over well, and if the department backs out completely from this, then we will have nothing. And that's going to upset the community more.”

Johnson says WPD is concerned about a board without law enforcement representation – they want at least one seat at the table.

The ordinance was tabled, and Johnson says he will work with Darby on it.

Rachel Sawicki is Delaware Public Media's New Castle County Reporter. They are non-binary and use they/them pronouns.