Wilmington – Mayor Mike Purzycki and Police Chief Bobby Cummings today announced the completion of the 97th Wilmington Police Academy which began in August of 2016. A graduation ceremony was held today at the Chase Center on the Riverfront for family, friends and supporters of the 18 new police officers who will soon begin their street patrol assignments. The addition of these new officers brings the total number of officers available for active service to 313 out of the 319 authorized police officer positions in Wilmington.
— WITN 22 (@WITN22Wilm) February 10, 2017
“We thank the new officers for choosing a career that is of such importance to the citizens of Wilmington and to everyone who works in or visits our city,” said Mayor Purzycki. “It is a challenging job, it is a stressful job and, at times, it is an unforgiving job, but it is also one of the most rewarding ways to serve your fellow man. It takes courage, stamina and concern for others to be the best at protecting and defending our citizens and our communities.”
Wilmington City Council President Hanifa Shabazz also attended today’s ceremony and addressed the recruits. “Be proud to be an officer,” said Shabazz. “But take care to be an example. Enjoy the privileges that come with it, but never forget the principles for which you stand. You will have a good deal of authority granted to you as an officer. Make sure to always exercise it responsibly, fairly, and wisely.”
The latest police academy is one of the most diverse in recent years. Of the 18 new officers, seven are female, eight are African Americans and three are Hispanic. The new officers, some of whom do not live in Wilmington, are required to move to the city to comply with Wilmington’s five-year residency law.
The new officers will begin their police duties on Monday. Each will be assigned to work with a more senior police officer for at least six months to develop experience on police patrols.
According to Chief Cummings, the focus of the 97th Police Academy was community-based service and the de-escalation of tense situations. He said training included U.S. Department of Justice programs initiated by former President Obama which included 21st Century Policing, Blue Courage, Verbal De-escalation and Procedural Justice. The Academy focused a great deal of attention on de-escalating situations involving suspects, crowds and members of the community. Recruits also participated in numerous community events with students and conducted a very successful “breaking barriers/building relationships” event with citizens.
Source: Wilmington Mayor’s Office