We in New Castle County have an obligation to serve you and serve you equitably.
Last week in Minneapolis police officers brutally murdered George Floyd. Today, murder charges against Officer Derek Chauvin were upgraded to second-degree murder, and three other officers who stood by as George Floyd died were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Cell phone video today now captures evidence of horrific racist acts, injustices that have occurred and existed for as long as our country has. Every single incident is despicable. We resolve to double down our efforts and do everything within our power to address these historic inequities. And to address them now.
Strong emotional expressions of anger, disappointment, frustration and despair are all understandable. We need to work to ensure the inappropriate acts of a few, vandalizing, looting and robbing, do not detract from the message of the peaceful protests and our obligation to serve and to address historic injustices with newfound vigor and aggressive policies.
We must take action.
We, leading your county, are reviewing all of our policies regarding use of force.
We are reviewing all of our policies regarding police training to address bias.
We are reviewing all of our policies regarding diversity in police hiring.
We are beginning a process, in collaboration with County Council and community leaders, to put stronger policies and programs in place. Today, in New Castle County, there is more racial diversity at senior levels than ever before, including the County’s first African American police chief, first African American Chief Administrative Officer and first female African American Director of Economic Development in our county’s history.
We also have taken unprecedented steps to address discriminatory policing, introducing implicit bias and conflict de-escalation training for all New Castle County Police officers in 2017. We have increased community policing and initiated pre-arrest criminal justice reforms. We created the first behavioral health unit in any police agency in our state, supporting those with mental health and substance use disorders into assistance and treatment, rather than handcuffs and incarceration. We enhanced our summer youth employment program to include training high school students of color to be software developers.
In the coming years I would like to be able to say that the brutal murder of Mr. Floyd was the catalyst to eradicate racially biased policing and forced us to look in the mirror. We are committed to changing that reflection.