By Gabriel Pilonieta-Blanco
El Tiempo Hispano
WILMINGTON, DELAWARE — Ayala is a simple man who without his uniform might go unnoticed, but the reality is that his work as a police officer has led him to take the second most important position at police headquarters in the city of Wilmington, making history as the Hispanic that has gone farther in all state law enforcement agencies within Delaware.
As Research Operations Inspector, he is responsible for the Criminal Investigation Division, the Drug, Organized Crime and Vice Division, the Office of Professional Standards and the Human Resource Division. As of January 4th, his workload increased exponentially. His schedule is theoretically 9-5 but he arrives at his office at 7 and leaves after 7 pm.
“The work has doubled. We have to take into account that we have a new mayor, a new boss and a new physical address”, he says smiling.
As a young man, he studied and graduated as a chemist in Puerto Rico, but when he got to Delaware, a career as a police officer caught his attention and he wanted to try. He remembers that as a patrolman he had an experience that led him to discover his true calling.
“I had to revive a baby about 3 months old with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and when I saw him back to life, I realized, this is what I want to do in life: to help people,” he says.
During his 31 years of experience, Ayala has realized that one of the internal problems they have is communications.
“The decisions made at a high level do not filter well to the police officers who are patrolling the streets. That is why we are looking for better ways for them to understand why we are making decisions. We want the street work to be more effective, especially in areas that we know have always been problematic and we have not been able to resolve properly.” For this, they will use all available technologies and resources to better fight crime in the city.
Among his plans are, for example, making the penalties tougher, having more expensive fines, more jail time for criminals, more expensive bonds. “I think now the courts understand that if we do not stop this problem, it will get worse.”
Personally, Ayala says he feels sorry to see that Wilmington and many cities in the United States are experiencing the same situation with regard to crime.
“It is a social thing that happens in the family, parenting is not the same, people do not fear prison, it is a small percentage who commits crimes, but they are arrested and then get out, so it is very difficult as is.”
There is also the fact that, of the people in the city, 80% are renters, and therefore their interest in the community is less.
Hence, Ayala thinks without the participation of the community, it is very difficult to succeed in this task and has implemented a resource for anyone who can record a crime to report it anonymously to the police. It is “Shared Vision”, a program to compile a database from the private security cameras that could capture images not otherwise accessible to the investigators of a crime.
And so he invites all those business owners who have installed home video cameras or security systems to enroll in the Shared Vision Program through the website www.wilmington.gov/residents/sharevision. Police promise that all information will remain confidential, i.e. the owner of the camera does not have to go to testify in court or anything like that.
The interesting thing is that almost everyone has a camera on their cell phone and nobody has to sit idly by but instead send a recording of a crime of which the person can be a silent witness. Ayala insists that the police cannot work without the help of the community.
Another important issue for Ayala is what to do with those who are released from prison…
Finish reading: Victor Ayala, Making History