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Wilmington City Council Names Donny Williams Police Chief

Wilmington City Council unanimously approved the appointment of Donny Williams as Chief of Police

In an historic announcement Tuesday night, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo named Donny Williams as the City’s new Chief of Police. 

Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams no longer has “interim” at the front of his title.  Council approved his appointment as permanent chief unanimously – and with applause. 


Williams says there’s a lot of work to be done – but he has reason to be hopeful – not least because when he started, he never imagined becoming Chief.  He just wanted to make Sergeant. 


And there are other firsts, too.

"...A black male born to a single mother in the City of Wilmington and raised in the Creekwood community… I’m the first police cadet to be a chief.  I’m the first resident of public housing in the City of Wilmington to be a police chief.  My story is proof that you can truly do anything if you put your mind to it." 

Williams also thanked a number of others who helped him along the way, including his community.  

In other matters, Council approved street closures downtown to allow restaurants to temporarily expand their outdoor dining areas.  The closures will be treated and managed like special events Thursdays through Sundays starting Thursday, June 25 and running through Labor Day.

Following Monday night’s forum on race, Mayor Bill Saffo raised the issue of removing Confederate monuments from downtown intersections over concerns about public safety.


"We have obviously people that have passions on both sides.  These monuments mean different things to different folks.  Our issue is to protect the historic integrity of the monument but also to protect the people that are protesting there that are getting out there in the street."

Without setting a deadline, Mayor Saffo asked the City Manager to formalize a plan to move the monuments and get back to council with that plan as soon as possible.  


Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 4 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.