Dover's Silver Lake Park to Get Cameras Amid Concerns Over Safet - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover's Silver Lake Park to Get Cameras Amid Concerns Over Safety

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DOVER, Del.- Security cameras will soon monitor sections of a city park located in the area where a Wesley College student was found dead this month, Dover's police chief said Monday night.

Chief Marvin Mailey said three cameras will be installed at Silver Lake Park, a recreational area eponymously named after a body of water found in central Dover. One camera will be located at an entrance to the park off Kings Highway, while two other cameras will be located inside the park.

"The cameras will just be an added level of security for the residents and evidence gathering for the police department," he said.

Mailey said cameras had already been planned for installation in the area well before the body of Erick Acevedo-Palencia, a 21-year-old Wesley College student who had gone missing for weeks in February, was discovered in the lake.

Acevedo-Palencia's death prompted calls from City Councilman Roy Sudler for the park to be closed, citing concerns about surveillance and safety.

Prior to Monday's city council meeting, Sudler maintained during a phone interview that the park is unsafe and said many constituents are concerned with several bodies being pulled from the lake in recent years.

"There's no surveillance cameras and safety measures for the community," he said.

Sudler acknowledged he has no proof that Acevedo-Palencia's death was the result of foul play, something police have not indicated was involved as the incident remains under investigation.

Many people who spoke during the public comment session at Monday's council meeting to speak against closing the park. A petition with signatures from more than 60 homeowners opposed to Sudler's suggested course of action was submitted to the city.

"I would hope we would make decisions based on facts and what's actually happening and not speculation or hearsay," said Michael Lewis, a Dover resident who spoke at the meeting.

Saundra Caldwell of Dover, another speaker at the meeting, said the park needed to be shuttered while better lighting and cameras were installed and does not believe all of the bodies recovered at Silver Lake in recent years were the results of suicides.

"I truly believe at this moment it should be closed until they can get the issues taken care of," she said.

Mailey said in an interview that the previous deaths at Silver Lake cited by some people were not --- to his knowledge --- believed to have had any felonious or criminal activity attached to them, according to previous investigations.

Mayor Robin Christiansen said during a statement at Monday's meeting that Acevedo-Palencia's death was tragic but should not be exploited by people playing on the fears of the uninformed who may be trying to build division and hate.

Without mentioning Sudler or any other supporters of closing Silver Lake Park, Christiansen also defended the city's police department in its work investigating incidents deemed suicides.

"Let us continue as a community and as a family to light candles of hope rather than curse the darkness," he said.

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