Ernest “Trippi” Congo II

Candidate for City Council President

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?

Absolutely. Our government lacks transparency and this causes distrust. Government often forgets who pays us. And for that reason alone, government should be more transparent. 

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

Yes. Our Country is founded on the belief that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. No one should have the power to unilaterally be the judge and juror without due process

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,  this is critical to make sure that targeting and discrimination is eventually eliminated. 

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. Police officers have an extremely difficult job, physically, emotionally and mentally. In order to make sure they are able to function and make sound decisions,  they should be evaluated after potentially traumatizing events and on a regular basis, not just periodically. 

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

YES. I was the first Councilman to introduce legislation for all of wpd to wear body cameras. This was met with resistance from the Administration,   the police chief and some council members…under the false pretense of them trying to be financially prudent. I knew the importance of it for the public and the police department and tried to make it a financial priority. 

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

Yes. Again, this would go a long way in improving accountability and trust between government and those who we serve. 

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

No. I know that some warrants absolutely need to be no knock in order to ensure safety of officers. However,  I would support disciplinary actions against officers who abuse this tactic. 

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

Yes.This is a slippery slop that can lead to unfair harassment. We can not police our way out of our current criminal environment. 

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, some of us on Council have already tried to pass legislation similar to this but unfortunately it wasn’t supported by enough Councilmembers. 

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. Delaware needs long term substance abuse rehabilitation facilities. Our friends and family should not have to struggle to find rehab housing out of state 

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?

One of my platforms is to aggressively advocate for Wilmington to have control of its own public school system. I know that education is the great equalizer. We must change how and what our children are taught. From kindergarten,  our children need to be taught the importance of finances,  home maintenance , local politics and  self and neighborly love. Community centers  are needed in every district to provide access to these and other learning tools.