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Campos named new Wilmington police chief

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Wilmington Police Chief Wilfredo Campos

Veteran city police officer Wilfredo Campos was named the new Wilmington police chief on Thursday. | PHOTO COURTESY OF WPD

WILMINGTON – Mayor Mike Purzycki announced Thursday that he has appointed Capt. Wilfredo Campos, a longtime veteran of the city police department, as its new police chief.

Campos, 50, replaces former Wilmington Police Department Chief Robert Tracy who was appointed to the top police role in St. Louis last month.

Unlike his predecessor, Campos is a 26-year Wilmington Police Department veteran who was raised on the city’s West Side. Tracy, who was also appointed by Purzycki early in his term, was hired from outside of the department after serving long stretches with the Chicago and New York City police departments.

The 33rd police chief in Wilmington’s history is the first person of Hispanic descent to hold the top role in a city that is about 10% Hispanic. Campos has served in a variety of WPD positions, including the Uniform Services Division, Community Policing Division, Criminal Investigation Division, and the Human Resources Division. He was also a WPD detective assigned to a Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Task Force and has served with the U.S. Army Reserve.

In a statement, the mayor said he was “extremely pleased” to promote Campos to chief.

“His vast experience and leadership skills, as well as his decades-long knowledge and understanding of city neighborhoods and his interactions with city residents will serve him well as he takes command of an outstanding police department,” Purzycki said in a video announcing the pick. “Each day, the men and women of the WPD demonstrate their commitment to public safety and the importance of serving the public with courage and integrity. I could not be happier for Chief Campos, his family and his many supporters throughout Wilmington who have encouraged him throughout his career.”

The new chief’s salary will be $200,000 annually, and he will begin his new duties immediately.

In a statement, Wilmington City Council President Trippi Congo, who clashed with Tracy prior to his departure, expressed his support for the selection of Campos.

“I want to thank Mayor Purzycki for reaching out to me during this transition period for the police department and seeking my thoughts on the department as a whole,” Congo said. “The mayor made a good decision in appointing Chief Campos. The City Council looks forward to collaborating with the new WPD police administration. We wish the new leadership well.”

Campos, who also serves as a board member of West Side Family Healthcare and Los Jardines Senior Housing, expressed his gratitude at the appointment and thanked his family for their support.

“It is truly a blessing and an honor to have the opportunity to continue serving the residents of Wilmington in this new role as police chief and to be able to lead our brave and dedicated police officers and civilians that make up the Wilmington Department of Police family,” Campos said in a statement. “I thank my entire family, our many friends, current and former police officers, and all of the people who have provided support and guidance to me throughout the years to make this day possible.”

In conjunction with Campos’ promotion, he also promoted Capts. Anthony Bowers and Matthew Hall to the rank of inspector. They will be part of his immediate support and management team.

Hall, who has 26 years with the police force, was most recently the commanding officer of the Special Operations Division. In addition to overseeing school resource officers, the Downtown/Riverfront Unit and the Canine Unit, Hall took a leading role in coordinating with partner law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Secret Service during the Democratic National Convention and Election Night programming with candidate and then-President-Elect Joe Biden during his time in Wilmington leading up to the start of his presidency.

Bowers, a 23-year WPD veteran, spent time with the United States Marshals Task Force and the Office of Professional Standards. He was most recently the commanding officer of the Human Resources Division, a role that has included overseeing the department’s recruitment efforts. These have been successful in increasing the diversity of our department through the past several academy classes, including our most recent class, which was nearly 85% minority recruits. 

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