Michelle Harlee

Candidate for District 4

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 also believe they should have Annual Performance Reviews for WPD like any other individual on a job. Also, a scoring system could be created for disciplinary and good performances and discussed during their Annual Performance Review, if they don’t have one in place. It will help keep officers  accountable for their overall behavior good or bad. Annual Performance Ratings with a scoring system will help to know if they are 1) not meeting expectations, 2) meeting expectations or 3) exceeding expectations. 

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

I would support legislation that states if assets are seized they should be held and if no wrong doing is found they should be returned. 

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 type of data collection can be helpful in reducing biases if any, and how to better deploy officers depending on whats learned from the data. There are always opportunities for improvement and this is how the data should be used to identify gaps and find areas to improve.

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

No. It’s not needed. It’s already covered in their Health Benefits Package under EAP. If not, yes but mental health therapists an visits should already be covered . 

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

Absolutely. It holds both the Officer and the person being addressed accountable. A harsh penalty should be applied if camera is turned off during active duty.

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

Yes. Body cameras should encourage officers to handle tax payers with more dignity and respect and certainly reduce police misconduct and records should be made available when requested.

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

Yes because too many mishaps, mixups and lives have been taken as a result of no knock warrants like Breonna Taylor’s and many others. 

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

I want WPD to do their job by addressing the right people. Remove the harassing. No tax payer or non tax payer should be harassed! 

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 to everything. As to hiring and firing, have input. This makes for great relationship building, promotes transparency and accountability.

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)?

I would like to see WPD use this methodology if they are not currently using it. The New Castle County’s Hero Help is for anyone who lives in Delaware. They can refer individuals now. 

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?

HOUSING-Decisions for Health, Social Services, Incarceration and Education fall under the State Government not the City. However when I get calls, I have been a conduit to direct people to where they can get help and information regarding equal opportunities around housing to HOND and 211. EDUCATION- I attended the Superintendents meetings for Christina School District and Board Meetings to be at the table to get information to bring back to my constituents at civic association meetings. I was very engaged by asking for support and advocacy when needed. For example asking for Bancroft Principal to send a bus to pick up families that don’t have access to cars at the Neighborhood House for PTA meetings, etc. Which Bancroft did. When I learned that the youth coming to the NH needed tablets I reached out to the principal again at Bancroft to get the Children Computer tablets and she did. During the Christina School District Referendum in June I helped to get the word out to families in my district to understand the importance of the Referendum and to get out and vote on Election Day! The Referendum passed and our children will continue with extra curricular activities that they need and teachers salaries were funded and secure. ECONOMIC GROWTH-In addition to hosting 2 Job Fairs in South Bridge to hire residents from the community to work on the Solar Farm Project on New Castle Avenue. Immediately once becoming elected I met with the E&D office (Alfred Lance at the time and then Dwayne Sims) and wanted to understand how are we meeting targets to create opportunities and economic growth for minorities. We met and I learned how more effort and information was strategically getting to current business owners to build capacity and be qualified for Bids for the City of Wilmington as well as mentoring start up businesses. I meet periodically with the E&D office and ask for metrics on how we were doing. I‘Ve seen how a few more minority businesses have opened since 2017 and more are opening. There’s more work to do. Overall I am interested in the total economic stability and growth for the entire business district. The 4th District is the economic engine for Wilmington and its stability and growth is very important for the City of Wilmington and the State of Delaware. Over 56% of the City’s revenue is generated in the 4th district between wage and property taxes.