UPDATE: This piece has been updated to include response from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
St. Louis, Missouri, chose a new police chief who previously received a vote of no-confidence in his Delaware jurisdiction as the city continues to grapple with rampant crime.
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones revealed that Wilmington, Delaware, Police Chief Robert Tracy would become St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s next head Wednesday, crediting him with “a proven record of reducing violent crime.” Wilmington’s city council voted 6-4 in favor of a January no-confidence resolution toward Tracy and Wilmington Police Department, which cited factors including “a lack of diversity in the department” despite the city’s diverse population, Tracy’s alleged lack of visibility after major incidents in the city, department staff complaints over internal procedures, according to WDEL. (RELATED: ‘Grossly Inaccurate’: Experts Say FBI ‘Botched’ Hate-Crime Data, Underreported Anti-Jewish Incidents)
Tracy admitted in a January Public Safety Committee meeting that the Wilmington Police Department did not have any Black or Hispanic captains, lieutenants or sergeants, with City Council President Trippi Congo saying the city’s population was 70% Black or brown, the outlet reported. Congo sponsored the no-confidence resolution but insisted that he was attempting to fire Tracy or defund the police, saying, “I want to give him an opportunity to do the right thing, and I think I have been extremely fair and extremely patient.”
Tracy said the controversy had been “very short-lived” after a reporter brought up the no-confidence vote Wednesday. He claimed they discussed those matters to make sure the community’s expectations were being met and received public support for their diversity and transparency efforts.
“That was an issue that was about 11 months ago, has not been an issue since then, and really is being resurrected only because I’ve taken this position,” Tracy told the reporter.
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki congratulated Tracy Thursday on his selection as St. Louis police chief and thanked him for his service in his city, stating, “The Chief came to Wilmington during a very difficult time and leaves almost six years later with record reductions in homicides, the lowest violence in a decade, the lowest number of complaints against our police officers, and a very high level of officer retention.”
St. Louis had the second-highest violent crime rate of any U.S. city in 2019, with 194 murders, according to FBI data cited by CBS News. A WalletHub analysis published in October ranked it the least safe of 180 cities nationwide.
Tracy began his career in the NYPD and subsequently worked in the private sector before joining the Chicago Police Department for five years, eventually becoming Wilmington’s police chief in 2017, he said.
“When I started my work in Wilmington, it was dubbed ‘Murdertown, USA’ by Newsweek,” Tracy said. “However, by January of 2019, the headlines read, ‘From Murdertown, to Turnaroundtown,” because Wilmington finished 2018 with a 56% reduction in shootings and 41% decrease in homicides, and as of today, overall crime is down by 27% from when I started in 2017, and most violent crimes including murder is down 50%, rape down 83% and robberies are down 54%.”
Jones’ office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department directed the DCNF to the city’s Department of Public Safety.
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