On the evening of June 23, City Council voted unanimously to name Interim Chief of Police Donny Williams as permanent Chief of Police for the City of Wilmington. Chief Williams has served as interim Chief since February, following the retirement of Chief Ralph Evangelous. As interim, Chief Williams has navigated the police department through the COVID-19 crisis and the protests that have occurred in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. He exemplifies the city’s core values of service, professionalism, respect, integrity and safety. A native of Wilmington, Chief Williams has worked for WPD for nearly 30 years, gaining experience as a Summer Youth Worker and police cadet before being sworn in as a police officer in December of 1992.
As an officer, he worked in various patrol and specialized assignments including Crime Prevention, DARE and Housing. Chief Williams has a heart for our community’s youth and is credited with expanding the agency’s Police Activities League (PAL), which now includes four sports: basketball, soccer, wrestling and cheer and dance. More than 500 youths participate in PAL activities each year. As a Police Captain, he managed the Support Services Division where he oversaw the agency’s $24 million dollar budget for several years and the agency’s largest Patrol division. As a Deputy Chief he oversaw, the Special Investigations and Criminal Investigations Divisions. Williams oversaw the design, development and completion of the Haynes - Lacewell Police and Fire Training Facility. For the last several months, Chief Williams has proven his ability to lead during the extremely difficult times of COVID-19 compounded by the anger and protests that are present since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Find the Chief's full remarks below:
"The biggest group of people I want to thank is this community. Over the past week, this community has shown a lot of support and love for the Wilmington Police Department and for me. When I started this journey more than 27 years ago, I would never have imagined that my career would bring me to this path. I just wanted to make sergeant, and now I’m a police Chief. A black male born to a single mother in the City of Wilmington and raised in the Creekwood community — people will look at a lot of firsts for me. The first I want them to think about is I’m the first police cadet that made Chief. I’m the first resident of public housing in the City of Wilmington to make Chief. My story is proof that you can truly do anything if you put your mind to it. However, I realize I did not make this by myself. There’s been a lot of people who’ve been supporting me throughout my life and my career. Chief Bristol gave me my first opportunity. Sgt. Waddell, Sgt. Lincoln, Sheriff McMahon, Retired Chief Evangelous, Linda Thompson. Linda was my supervisor at one point when I was a young DARE officer. Without Linda, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go back to school and get my education. I am overjoyed and humbled that our Council has put their trust and confidence in me and my ability to lead this agency. There is a lot of work to be done, and we want to get this right. We want to make our community a greater place — it’s already a great place. To the employees of WPD, you’ve been there for me. And I’ve been there for you, for thirty years. I’m proud to say that I work for one of the greatest agencies in the state. While these last few months have not been easy — talk about getting thrown into the deep end of the pool — they’re proof that we — not just me— are resilient and can rise to any challenge. I want to thank to special ladies in my life. My mom, Joann Williams, a single mother, and my beautiful wife. Thank you. I appreciate all your support."