Chief Dunning Takes Oath of Office at Public Ceremony

Posted on  01/10/2013 3:06 pm

Chief Christine R. Dunning publicly took the oath of office in Council Chambers at 800 North French Street, becoming the first female police chief in Wilmington’s history. Chief Dunning thanked Mayor Williams for the opportunity and thanked her family, friends, and fellow officers for their support. Declaring that, “Quality is not an act, it is a habit,” Dunning vowed, “each and every day that we come to work we will embrace this habit,” and promised that the Wilmington Police Department will provide the City of Wilmington “the safety and security it needs to move forward.”

Chief Dunning is a lifelong resident of the City of Wilmington. Dunning attended Saint Thomas Elementary School and graduated from Padua Academy in 1980. In 1984 she completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Delaware. Dunning later completed a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management at Wilmington University while working as a police officer.
Chief Dunning was appointed to the Wilmington Police Department on October 6, 1986. Upon graduation from the 77th Academy Class, she was assigned to the Uniformed Services Division. After three and half years, Dunning transferred to the Community Policing unit where she walked a beat along Wilmington’s East side. As a Crime Prevention Officer, she conducted “Officer Friendly” classes at neighborhood schools and worked with city neighborhoods to assist them in developing Neighborhood Watch programs.

On March 14, 1991, Chief Dunning was involved in a departmental shooting. Several suspects robbed the Wilmington Trust Bank at 1201 North Union Street. While fleeing the scene, the suspects began shooting at police officers. An officer near Chief Dunning was wounded and she exchanged gunfire with the suspects, fatally wounding one.

Chief Dunning was promoted to sergeant in 1993 and in 1995 became the first female Public Information Officer under Chief Samuel D. Pratcher. In 1996 Chief Dunning was transferred to the Criminal Investigations Division where she supervised detective operations.

Promoted to lieutenant in 1998, Dunning returned to the Uniformed Services Division where she managed Western Two Command and supervised over 40 officers.

In 2001, Chief Dunning became the Human Resources Division Training Lieutenant in the Human Resources Division. Chief Dunning was a member of the State Council Training Board as she ensured that the department met the states requirements for training, policies and procedures, career development program, and the department’s promotional system. Chief Dunning oversaw the recruitment, hiring, and development of police academies.

In 2005, then Lieutenant Dunning transferred to the Criminal Investigation Division. There she supervised and managed detectives and officers assigned to the Evidence Detection Unit. Chief Dunning investigated departmental and criminal shootings, analyzed criminal data, and developed plans for responding to crime trends. Chief Dunning also worked closely with victims services personnel, coordinating assistance for victims of crime.

Dunning was promoted to Captain in 2010 and returned to the Human Resources Division where her responsibilities included monitoring the department’s budget, ensuring compliance with accreditation standards, and managing human resources.
Chief Dunning is the recipient of numerous awards including the Distinguished Service Award, Outstanding Service Award, and Merit Award for life saving. She is also the recipient of the Thomas Garrett Award for outstanding humanitarian efforts enhancing the cultural heritage and urban living environment of Quaker Hill. Chief Dunning is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and is a member of the Delaware Chapter of the FBI National Academy. She sits on the State Council of Police Training and is a board member of the Kingswood Community Center in Wilmington.

She is married to her husband of 22 years, Bob, and has three children.