Christian Willauer

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. I believe transparency is key to accountability, and police misconduct should not be shielded from public scrutiny. At the same time, I will advocate for stronger internal controls within the police department to ensure that all officers are held to a standard of conduct in protecting public safety and respecting every resident. I will advocate for the creation of an early warning system to identify patterns of misconduct and the creation of a system for review of the discipline records for police who are flagged through the early warning system that is conducted by someone outside the police department, such as an attorney in the City Solicitor’s office with training in the standards of policing . 

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

Yes. I don’t think civil asset forfeiture is a fair practice and it is vulnerable to abuse, because police departments sometimes start seeing it as a source of revenue. 

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. I think tracking and sharing data, including information about the race on all pedestrian and traffic stops, and reason for the stop, is an important first step to identifying patterns of police conduct that don’t meet standards expected by the public. I will advocate for this data to be analyzed to identify any unacceptable patterns and for plans to be made public about how these patterns will be addressed. This is a good way to promote quality policing, protect the public, and restore trust between residents and the police.

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. Policing is a stressful job and we owe it to the officers that serve to make sure that resources are available to them for their health, including their psychological health. By making these evaluations routine, any stigma will be removed, and more officers will get the support they need to maintain their psychological health and perform at their highest capacity. In addition, any officers that might not in the right frame of mind to deal with the public in the role of police officer can be identified and their situations can be addressed proactively in order to ensure the highest standards for officers who protect public safety in our city.

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

Yes. Body cameras protect both the officer and the public by providing a record of a situation that can be reviewed after it has happened. I will advocate for Wilmington to implement at body camera program immediately.

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

Yes. I believe that transparency is key to ensuring that police behavior that doesn’t meet standards of conduct is addressed in the timely manner that the public expects and deserves.  

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

Yes. No knock warrants represent a danger to both officers and the public and should be reserved for a very narrow band of situations, such as hostage situations. 

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

Yes. I think that blending police officers with parole visits breaks down the bright line between policing and rehabilitation. We need to focus on restoring trust between the police and the public, and one way to do this is to respect the different roles and responsibilities of the police and parole officers. 

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, I am in favor or a community review board, but I don’t think it is a substitute for strong internal controls, including an early warning system that flags patterns of police misconduct and triggers a review by an outside party within the city administration, such as a lawyer in the City Solicitor’s office with a specialty in policing. Community Review Boards have a role to play in identifying and focusing attention on policing issues that matter to the community, but I think in order to be effective they need to be working in collaboration with a strong system of accountability and oversight of police conduct that is built into the administration. I would advocate for that position in the City Solicitor’s office working with the Citizen’s Review Board to develop the early warning system and report on at least an annual basis to the Mayor, City Council, and the Citizen’s Review Board  on the results of the early warning system.  

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. This is a needed program and I will prioritize identifying best practices and sources of funding to bring a program like this to 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?

I am running for City Council to promote equity and opportunity for all Wilmington residents. The condition of WIlmington’s neighborhoods that we see today is a result of policies that were put in place in the past, and I think that policy is the way to make a more positive future. One key question that I will bring when I consider any policy is “Who benefits?” My core value is to support policies that benefit the broad public because I think that is the only way to build a strong and sustainable future for the city. As 5th District City Council Member, I will focus on supporting the development and implementation of policies that will strengthen Wilmington’s neighborhoods, ensure that every Wilmington resident lives in a safe and healthy home, and help families sustain and build wealth, including creating a Homeowner Repair Grant Program so that low-income homeowners can get needed repairs,  creating a Down-Payment and Settlement Assistance Program to help renters become homeowners, re-instating the Pre-Rental Inspection Program so every renter moves into housing that meets standards, introducing policies that will ensure that every landlord in the City gets a license, such as requiring that landlords have a licence in order to be able to use the courts to evict, in order to bring all landlords in the city under the oversight of Licenses and Inspections, and implementing a Rental Property Inspection Program so every rental unit in the city is inspected every two years to hold landlords accountable for maintaining their units. I will work with our state delegation and social service providers to identify needs and build programs that address the problems that people face, such as homelessness and/or addiction, so that people can get the help they need to build stable lives. I will also work hard to participate in and support efforts to build relationships between the police and residents so that we can work together to address the issues that undermine the quality of life in neighborhoods and make Wilmington the best that it can be.