98th Wilmington Police Academy Graduation Ceremony

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Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and Police Robert Tracy today participated in a graduation ceremony marking the completion of the 98th Wilmington Police Academy, which began in January 2018. The ceremony was held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront for family, friends and supporters of the 22 new police officers who will begin their street patrol assignments on Monday. The addition of these new officers brings the total number of officers on the police force to 305 out of the 314 authorized or budgeted police officer positions in Wilmington.

The new Wilmington Police officers are: Delali Adopley; Stephen Comer; Zachery Davis; Edward DiMauro; Krystle Fox; Shavonne Gaskin; Markees Gordon; Derek Haines; Keith Johnson; Michelle Lee; Trent Martin; Joshua Morris; Phillip Poorman; Elliot Pratts; Daniel Rice; Christopher Rosaio; James Rook; James Roy; Daniel Shea; Erik Thomas; Samuel Waters; and Akquil Williams. The new officers will each be assigned to work with a more senior police officer for at least six months to develop experience on police patrols.

During his remarks today to the graduates, Mayor Purzycki said that for city government to become great and for Wilmington to take its place among the very best cities in the nation—where it once was—then all City employees must be part of an undivided whole, committed to excellence in everything they do.

“The men and women of this department have a vital and outsized role to play in that return to prominence,” said the Mayor. “Crime is a symptom of deeper societal problems, and to deal with these underlying causes of crime, we have put in place long term neighborhood building strategies and interventions. But in the short term we must once again turn to our police officers and depend on the skill, courage and hard work of our law enforcement professionals to suppress crime until these longer term solutions show results.”

Chief Tracy told his new officers they will face many challenges, but said their training and values will guide them. “Becoming the Chief of the Wilmington Police Department was one of my proudest moments, and welcoming each of you to this department is now on the list of proud moments,” said the Chief. “Each and every day, the men and women of the Wilmington Police Department work hard to reduce crime and build partnerships with the communities we serve.”

The Chief said the hard work and dedication is showing results. “Overall crime is down 9%, shootings are down 60%, and shooting murders are down 47%,” Chief Tracy continued. “But these are mere numbers. The true value is in the lives being saved. Each number represents a person, a family, a loss – the work you will do on the streets of Wilmington will save lives. In the last year, we implemented policies that have directed the police department towards a community policing strategy. Community engagement will be a cornerstone of your job. Without public trust, respect and a true partnership with the community, your job is not possible.”

Graduates who received special recognition today for extraordinary accomplishments during the 98th Police Academy include: James Roy, chosen by his colleagues as Class President of the 98th Police Academy, received the Police Chief’s Leadership Award; Daniel Rice received the Top Academic Award, which is recognized through the Lt. James Diana Award; Keith Johnson received the Academic Excellence Award; Joshua Morris received the Top Physical Fitness Award; Derek Haines received the Top Marksmanship Award; and Christopher Rosaio received the Lou Ghecas Meritorious Award.

Officer Jason Alava, who graduated in February of 2017 from the 97th Wilmington Police Academy, received the Leonard Kittner Award at today’s ceremony, which recognizes the outstanding body of work on the part of a police officer who graduated from the previous academy class.

Source: City of Wilmington