Wilmington Police Dept. pushing forward amid national attention

Wilmington Police Dept gets national attention

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) -The Wilmington Police Department continues to receive national attention after the firing of three white officers for racist remarks caught on camera.

While Wednesday was Chief Donny Williams’ first full day since being promoted from Interim Chief to Chief, department spokesperson Jessica Williams reminds everyone he’s been with the department for almost thirty years.

“He’s been experiencing this for three decades now and he is ready for this conversation and he was ready to make the decision,” she said.

Since the announcement of the officers’ terminations, Jessica Williams says other officers have come forward to express their hope that conversations about race will continue.

The department is scheduling one-on-one meetings between Chief Williams and each officer, and will also mandate implicit bias training among staff.

Since Wednesday afternoon, Wilmington police have fielded emails and calls from media outlets across the country. Williams says the public response has been mixed.

“I would say the majority of it has been extremely positive,” she said. “A lot of people have been impressed with Chief Williams’ actions in this case. We have had some people be angry that we didn’t take it farther and they’ve wanted us to press charges against these officers, but that is in the DA’s hands so we can’t really speak to that right now.”

“This can’t be something that’s just swept under the rug. This is a chance for us to come together and be stronger as a department, and this is something that we need to get through together. So, we can’t be off in these silos. We have to talk,” Williams said. “The Wilmington Police Department wants to be an example for the rest of the nation. Not an example from what those three officers did, but an example in our actions and response to it. The way that we’re trying to heal—not only as a department but also heal the community’s relationship with this department because there’s been a breakdown of trust—and now, moving forward, we’re doing everything we can to heal that breakdown.”

Copyright 2020 WECT. All rights reserved.