State, City Leaders Announce Group Violence Intervention (GVI) Project in Wilmington

Social service agencies will partner with law enforcement to prevent gun violence

WILMINGTON, Del. – State of Delaware social service agencies will partner with law enforcement to prevent gun violence in the City of Wilmington under a Group Violence Intervention (GVI) project announced by state and city leaders on Tuesday.

Governor John Carney joined Wilmington Mayor Michael Purzycki, Attorney General Kathy Jennings, Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy, and Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Kara Walker to announce their shared commitment to launching the evidence-based GVI strategy in Wilmington.   

Evidence shows that gun violence is concentrated among a small number of people at very high risk for both victimization and violent offending. The GVI strategy is intended to help these high-risk individuals avoid involvement in the criminal justice system, keep them safe, stabilize their lives, and create accountability for violence. DHSS, the Delaware Department of Correction, and the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth & Their Families are among the agencies that will provide intervention services under the partnership.

“For any city to be successful, it needs to be safe,” said Governor John Carney. “Under the leadership of Mayor Purzycki and Chief Tracy, we’ve seen a significant reduction in gun violence in our city. But – as there are in all cities – there are still communities that are disproportionately impacted by gun violence in their neighborhoods. Those shootings traumatize children and families, and tear apart entire communities. We know that this gun violence is concentrated among a small group of people who are at very high risk for offending – but also at a very high risk for being victims of gun violence. We believe we can make a real difference if we are able to reach those at highest risk, and help them avoid involvement in the criminal justice system, keep them safe, and stabilize their lives. Thank you to Mayor Purzycki, Chief Tracy, Attorney General Jennings, Professor David Kennedy and many others for their partnership on this important work.”

“Wilmington is making significant gains regarding public safety,” said Wilmington Mayor Michael Purzycki. “We are a safer City today because we are policing the City differently, and that difference is largely because of the trust that has been built between the police department and our citizens. Chief Tracy has introduced new and effective layers to our policing methods in Wilmington and today we add another layer that can continue to improve lives and further reduce crime. My thanks to the Governor, to the Health and Social Services Secretary and to our criminal justice leaders for embracing this effort and to David Kennedy, Chief Tracy and former Chief Cummings who are deeply invested in making sure this initiative works for all of us.”

“This is a new day in Wilmington’s efforts to curtail violence in our neighborhoods,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings. “Through this initiative, we are recognizing the social and economic dynamics that so often drive violent crime, and we are disrupting those dynamics at their source. This program has shown remarkable promise in sharply reducing group violence and I am committed to its missions: protecting public safety, addressing the causes of anger and hopelessness that exist in our most underserved communities, and providing meaningful alternatives to those who would build a better life for themselves.”

The intergovernmental initiative will bring together state-level social service agencies with the Wilmington Police Department, the Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and community leaders in an effort to further and more significantly reduce homicide and shooting incidents in Wilmington. Intervention will be based on frontline knowledge, and real-time data on violence and individuals who face the highest risk of violence.

The GVI work will be led by Bobby Cummings, the former Wilmington Police Chief who has been appointed Director of Group Violence at the Department of Health and Social Services. The National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College, led by Professor David Kennedy, will provide technical assistance.

“Over the past several years, the Wilmington Police Department has embraced a range of proven, evidence-based policing strategies, with focused deterrence being key,” said Wilmington Police Chief Robert J. Tracy. “Implementing Group Violence Intervention – the next phase of our layered, comprehensive approach – carries the promise of achieving continued reductions in violent crime, while simultaneously offering support and wraparound services to those who embrace an alternative to engaging in gun violence.”

“We’re extremely excited to be working with Delaware and Wilmington to prevent homicide and gun violence,” said David Kennedy, Director of the National Network for Safe Communities at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “We’ve known and worked with Chief Tracy for years, and the commitment of the Governor’s Office puts Delaware amongst a small but growing number of states making an executive commitment to evidence-based public safety approaches. This work saves lives, keeps people out of the justice system, and builds trust between police and communities. We’re honored to be part of it.”

“As leaders, we all have a responsibility to alter the cycle of poverty, trauma and violence in order to keep individuals and families safe and healthy,” said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. “The newly appointed Director of Group Violence Intervention in the Department of Health and Social Services will have the resources and the staffing support to meet the social services needs of the small number of people in Wilmington who are at a very high risk for both victimization and for violent offending.”

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46 Criminal Cases Against Members of Heroin Enterprise Successfully Prosecuted

“Operation Son Sun” investigation concludes with convictions of leaders of one of Delaware’s largest heroin trafficking organizations.

Attorney General Matt Denn joined with prosecutors and law enforcement officers from federal, state and local agencies to announce convictions of members of heroin trafficking organization.
Attorney General Matt Denn joined with prosecutors and law enforcement officers from federal, state and local agencies to announce convictions of members of heroin trafficking organization.

Joined by the local and federal law enforcement agencies who successfully worked together to bring down one of the largest heroin trafficking organizations in Delaware history, Attorney General Matt Denn announced Thursday that the prosecutions of “Operation Son Sun” defendants had concluded with guilty adjudications for 46 defendants and multiple-decade sentences for the leaders of the organization.

The successful prosecutions were highlighted by the recent sentencings of Andrew “Rock” Lloyd, 32, of Wilmington and Antoine “Flock” Miller, 35, of Wilmington.  Lloyd led one of the largest heroin trafficking organizations in Delaware history before it was shut down in December 2014, after a multi-agency investigation. Known as “Operation Son Sun,” the investigation included the Delaware Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration-Wilmington Office (DEA), the Wilmington Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the New Castle County Police Department, the Division of Probation and Parole, the Newark Police Department, and the Delaware State Police.

The final indictment charging 46 people was handed down on December 22, 2014.  One year later, all 46 persons indicted have pled guilty or been convicted of criminal offenses.  Lloyd was sentenced to 25 years in prison, followed by probation for charges of organized crime and racketeering, six counts of Tier Five heroin possession, six counts of Tier Four drug dealing heroin, drug dealing with an aggravating factor, Tier One drug possession with an aggravating factor, possession of drug paraphernalia, and eight counts of second degree conspiracy.  Miller was sentenced to 20 years in prison followed by probation for charges of organized crime and racketeering, Tier Five heroin possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, and two counts of second degree conspiracy.

“The successful resolutions to these cases sends a strong message that we will seek to prosecute not just the street-level dealers, but the organizational heads of drug-dealing operations in our state,” said Attorney General Matt Denn. “These racketeering cases are notoriously hard to put together and present, and the fact that we were able to get convictions is in large part a credit to the front-line law enforcement work that was done.”

“The cases brought against this criminal enterprise demonstrates the strength of law enforcement’s dedication to stopping dangerous criminals in New Castle County.  This isn’t the end game for the FBI or our law enforcement partners.  We are continuing to go after the criminals who are creating violence and fear in our communities,” said Kevin Perkins, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Delaware.

“Andrew Lloyd and his associates were responsible for distributing large amounts of heroin and crack cocaine in Wilmington, Delaware. They destroyed numerous lives as a result of their drug-trafficking activities and were responsible for numerous shootings in furtherance of these same activities,” said Gary Tuggle, the Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division.  “Joint investigations such as this, where we worked with our local, state, and federal law enforcement counterparts on a case that leads to this many arrests, drug, and firearms seizures has resulted in a significant increase in the quality of life for the residents of Wilmington.”

“Our hope is that the communities impacted by these folks are safer communities today because they were arrested and successfully prosecuted,” said Col. Nathaniel McQueen, Superintendent of the Delaware State Police. “It again shows what can be done when we all work together, and the folks that benefit from our working together are those impacted communities that we serve every day.”

“This operation was a multi-agency effort to combat drug sales throughout the state and the many communities within New Castle County,” said Col. Elmer Setting, Chief of the New Castle County Police. “The New Castle County Police were glad to assist in this operation with all of our resources needed to successfully put these individuals out of the drug sales business. This is empirical evidence of how all police agencies in the state can work together to accomplish a similar goal.”

“We continue to aggressively address crime through a multi-faceted approach including working together with local, State, and federal agencies to arrest and prosecute those individuals who are committing violent crimes in our city,” said Wilmington Police Chief Bobby Cummings

“We appreciate the cooperation and partnership from the other law enforcement agencies that took part in this investigation, and we will continue our collaborative efforts to arrest and prosecute those who commit senseless acts of violence,” Denn said. “From the DOJ, I want to thank and commend Deputy Attorneys General Mark Denney, Julie Finocchiaro, Caterina Gatto, and John S. Taylor who handled the cases against all of the co-defendants. The prosecutors had a tremendous support team in paralegal Stefania Iannocco, administrative assistants Shannon Daniels, Tonya Kinsey, and Evelyn Davis and case processing unit members Diane Madric, Sandra Colicchio and Jeanne Kenney. I also want to recognize Kathy Jennings, our State Prosecutor, and Joe Grubb, the New Castle County Prosecutor, for the roles they played as well in these cases.”


DSCYF Funds Extended Hours at Wilmington Community Centers

Wilmington – For the third consecutive summer, hundreds of children in the city of Wilmington will have a safe place to hang out at night. The Delaware Children’s Department’s Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services (PBHS), is providing nearly $200,000 in funding to nine city community centers this year, allowing them to extend their operating hours through September, and provide prevention programming.

“After-school and summer programs positively affect the well-being of our youth and help prevent risky behaviors,” said Governor Markell. “By providing kids with opportunities to be active, we help keep them safe and engaged in a variety of activities they may not otherwise experience.”

The extended Hours Program is designed to address violence occurring within the city by providing a safe haven for youth who might otherwise be out on the street, as well as age appropriate services and prevention programming. During the summer and early fall of 2012, more than 6,500 youth participated in the extended hours service, doubling the number of youth served the previous year. Youth participated in suicide awareness, anti-bullying, substance abuse prevention, character building, technology classes, and organized sports.

“We’re pleased to again be able to provide this opportunity for youth to have a safe and structured place to enjoy the summer months,” said Jennifer Ranji, Secretary of the Children’s Department. “It’s important for children to have the opportunity to interact with other children, to play, grow and thrive in a positive setting.”

“The Extended Hours program also provides youth with opportunities to receive prevention messages, as well as another outlet for accessing or being connected to mental health services if needed,” said Susan Cycyk, Director of PBHS.

The following nine organizations have been funded to provide extended hours: the Fraims Boys & Girls Club, Girls Inc., Latin American Community Center (LACC), William Hicks Anderson, West End Neighborhood, YMCA, Wilmington Police Athletic League (PAL), Kingswood, Neighborhood House. PBH is also funding the KiVa anti bullying program, which will be offered through the University of Delaware in seven of the centers to date.

The Children’s Department provides services to children who have been abused, neglected, are dependent, have mental health or substance problems, and/or have been adjudicated delinquent by the Courts as well as prevention services targeted toward all youth. For more information, please visit www.kids.delaware.gov.