Bregetta Fields

Candidate for District 5

Responses to Wilmington Police Reform Survey

Will you vote to make all police disciplinary records public, and push for changes in state law necessary to make that possible?

Yes- Transparency in all branches and all departments in government is crucial so that taxpayers know that government is working at being as effective and just as possible.  Our police officers provide a vital government service and we should have the opportunity to see for ourselves how well they are doing their jobs

Will you vote for an ordinance prohibiting Wilmington police from engaging in civil asset forfeiture?

Yes- We need the police department focused on keeping us safe and catching criminals, not in confiscating and liquidating the assets of citizens.  

Will you vote for Wilmington police to collect and publish data, including by race, on all pedestrian and traffic stops they conduct, including the reason for the stop?

Yes- But, I would want to be very clear about prohibiting the release of personal data or data that could identify those involved with the traffic stop. 

Will you vote in favor of periodic psychological evaluations of Wilmington police officers? Will you vote for funds to mental health support for officers?

Yes – it is important to provide mental health support to officers and civilian staff as the stress in police work is real.  I’m going to be interested in reviewing current research on these programs as they are implemented in other agencies to make sure that we are implementing a truly supportive program built to help officers.

Will you vote for issuing all Wilmington Police officers body cameras?

Yes- Absolutely.  A secure protocol to to store this footage and retrieve it for official purposes is vital to how well this program is trusted by both Wilmingtonians and the officers.

Since police officers are public servants, do you believe footage from arrest and police misconduct should be made public record?

Footage from alleged officer misconduct should be made public.  Footage from routine arrests is a big question for me — I would not want the images of people who were proven innocent to be available on Google where future employers could see a police encounter without any context.  WPD officers often have encounters with citizens whose mental health issues are the reason why the police are interacting with them and I’m uncertain whether we should publish this footage without removing personally identifiable information.  As this question comes before Council, I would want to examine how other cities are addressing this and examine current Best Practices on publishing arrest footage.

If elected would you create and/or vote yes on an ordinance to end “no knock warrants”?

Yes – Use of No Knock warrants should be ended.

Will you vote in favor of ending Operation Safe Streets, which utilizes aggressive policing tactics to harass Wilmington families and community members?

Yes- Accompanied by a hard look at ways to revamp that program to be less aggressive, but still achieve some of the goals of targeting illegal guns, drugs and other activities that make our neighborhoods unsafe. 

Will you vote in favor of a community review board that has the power to investigate incidents and complaints, audit policy compliance, has hiring and firing authority, and make records and hearings public to the greatest extent possible?

Yes-Wilmington citizens have been asking for a Police Review Board for years and it is time to stand one up.  I would take exception to hiring and firing authority for this Board in favor of the authority to review disciplinary actions taken in response to misconduct.

Will you require and fund Wilmington Police to operate a pre-arrest diversion program for people with substance abuse issues (a model similar to New Castle County’s Hero Help)?

Yes- The NCCoPD’s Hero Help program is a great model to implement.  I would be interested in examining this program in detail as well as similar programs in other cities to create a program suitable for Wilmington. 

Communities of color in Wilmington have borne the brunt of aggressive policing and war on crime policies for decades. Those communities also bear the scars of decades of discrimination in housing, education, and access to economic opportunity. What will you do as a Council member, Mayor, or treasurer to repair that harm?

Work with others on City Council to find more effective ways linking community development to smart community policing.  This way both sides see the positive outlook of working together in the community, to heal the scars of decades of discrimination in housing, education, and access to economic opportunity.  It is not an accident that our communities that have borne the brunt of housing, education and economic inequities are too often over policed.  Wilmington can address one part of the housing issue by addressing the long-term structural racism of rental housing that is perpetually sub-par in our most distressed communities.  To address this, I would vote for the Mayor’s Blight Bill and work to give L&I the tools they need to require landlords to improve this housing.  I would also support Real Estate and Housing in their efforts to develop more affordable housing in the city.  Wilmington does not run any schools, but I would be a voice to advocate for better support to our schools with the General Assembly.  I would also advocate with the General Assembly along with our City delegation funding and focus on the development of affordable housing in Wilmington and throughout the state.  We don’t have enough safe, affordable housing to go around.  Lastly, I would work with Chief Tracy in his efforts to develop community policing here to identify and support efforts to improve community trust in the WPD.