Dover Keeps Hunt for New Police Chief within the Department - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover Keeps Hunt for New Police Chief within the Department


DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - The hunt continues for a new chief of the Dover Police Department. Some cities have nationwide or region-wide searches for new chiefs,­ like Salisbury did before it hired Chief Barbara Duncan in 2010. Dover, on the other hand, keeps its search much closer to home and puts the decision in the hands of one person.

City code says: "One of the regular members of the police department shall be designated by the mayor to serve as chief of police." That means the mayor has to pick from inside the department and can't look externally.

Mayor Carleton Carey likes having to choose from among the department's current personnel. Two captains and a major in the Dover Police Department are eligible to replace Chief Jim Hosfelt.

"They know what's going on within the community," he said. "They know the people. They know the customers they serve, of course. The other thing is - if you don't pick from within, your lower ranks don't feel they have any place to go."

WBOC learned the last time Dover hired externally for the job of police chief was all the way back in the 1940s, and it was done at the time because the powers that be thought the department needed some shaking up.

WBOC spoke with Patrick Oliver, an expert in local police administration and former chief of the police department in Cleveland, Ohio. He couldn't speak specifically to Dover's situation, but he did say an external hire can shake things up, because they bring an outside perspective.

"It's hard to make major change or major reform when you've been inside the agency and have been conditioned to see and understand things a certain way," Oliver said.

He says the system Dover uses is most common for departments - picking a chief from within, not from without - and that can work if candidates have been sufficiently and effectively groomed for the post.

Mayor Carey says he's still working on a decision. The goal has been to have a new chief by the time Chief Hosfelt exits next Friday.

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