City's Support for Operation FED UP Extended Another Year
Posted on 09/19/2012 4:34 pm
Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker and United States Attorney for Delaware Charles M. Oberly, III, today announced the extension of a one-year legal fellowship to support the highly successful Federal Enforcement and Detention/Urban Policing Program, also known by the acronym FED UP.
Started in 2007, Operation FED UP is a joint law enforcement initiative which is using federal prosecution as a tool to help reduce gun violence in Wilmington. Since its inception, approximately 130 defendants arrested in possession of a firearm in the City of Wilmington have received a federal sentence of imprisonment as part of the Operation FED UP Program, with their average sentence of imprisonment being almost four years. Approximately five Operation FED UP defendants have received only a probationary sentence.
To enhance the prosecutorial resources necessary to sustain Operation FED UP, the Mayor created a Federal Enforcement and Detention/Urban Policing Fellowship whereby the City provides $75,000 to a lawyer selected to serve as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney to prosecute firearms cases occurring in the City of Wilmington.
The Mayor and the U.S. Attorney have agreed to extend the fellowship of the current Operation FED UP prosecutor, Michelle E. Whalen, whose appointment was to expire October 10, 2012. Ms. Whalen will now serve through October 9, 2013. Prior to her fellowship with the Operation FED UP Program, Ms. Whalen served as a Deputy Attorney General with the State of Delaware Department of Justice, a litigation associate with Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A. and a summer clerk for the Delaware Supreme Court.
During her tenure with the FED UP Program, Ms. Whalen’s work has been exemplary. More than twenty firearms were seized from the streets of Wilmington in the cases in which Ms. Whalen appeared as a prosecutor. All of the FED UP defendants indicted in her cases have been held in jail without bail throughout the prosecution. Furthermore, every defendant sentenced in cases in which Ms. Whalen participated received a sentence of imprisonment, with the average sentence of imprisonment in these cases being about 4.5 years.
Mayor Baker said the Operation FED UP Program has been extremely helpful to the City’s crime fighting efforts lead by the Wilmington Police Department. “We are grateful to have this type of extra focus and prosecution on the small minority of citizens who choose to continue their criminal ways,” said the Mayor. “FED UP has removed them and their weapons from the streets in remarkable numbers. We look forward to continuing this relationship with U.S. Attorney Oberly which benefits everyone who lives, works and is trying to prosper in Wilmington.”
U.S. Attorney Oberly stated, “We are thrilled that the Mayor has offered to continue funding the program to provide our office with a full-time prosecutor. We appreciate Michelle Whalen’s work and dedication and look forward to working with her for another year.