Scrutiny on Dover Police Chief Situation Intensifies - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Scrutiny on Dover Police Chief Situation Intensifies

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DOVER, Del. -- As Dover begins its search for a new police chief following the upcoming retirement of Paul Bernat atop the organization, city officials said an announcement about the position will be made on Tuesday.

Mayor Robin Christiansen has previously said he intended to name an acting police chief to serve while a permanent chief is selected. Due to changes enacted by the city council, candidates from outside the department can be considered for the job and the person selected by the mayor must get approval by city lawmakers.

However, a letter signed by Councilman Roy Sudler and State Rep. Sean Lynn (D-Dover) warned Christiansen that there were legal concerns about a lack of ability within city code to appoint an interim or acting chief and that the action could also cause conflict with state law regarding their removal from the post.

"It's concerning for any number of reasons, and it just seems to be a recipe for disaster the way it's been handled so far," said Lynn, a former Dover councilman.

The letter supported appointing Deputy Chief Marvin Mailey as the new chief, a move Sudler said would give the city its first African-American police chief. He said he doesn't necessarily believe the agency needs to look outside the department through a national search.

"We need somebody who not only knows the community but can also relate on more levels than just one," he said.

David Gist, head of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #15, has also said there are officers within the department that deserve consideration for the top spot and going outside the department could reduce the agency's effectiveness because of adjustment time.

Christiansen declined to comment about the letter, deferring to Tuesday's announcement. Mailey, through a department spokesman, also declined comment.

Despite the letter, Christiansen is set to make an announcement about the position of Police Chief on Tuesday morning.

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