Report Calls for Improvements to Dewey Beach Police Department - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Report Calls for Improvements to Dewey Beach Police Department

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DEWEY BEACH, Del.- An independent analysis of the Dewey Beach Police Department is calling for change to the department.

Retired Delaware State Police trooper Dr. Gregory Warren authored the report commissioned by town officials. Warren conducted multiple interviews and collected data on the department's operation, administration and support services.

According to the report, Dr. Warren's major findings included officers desiring more training and responsibilities and that there is a "deep lack of trust" between the department and certain town officials due to "perceived political interference." Warren also writes that the police station's physical facility condition is "woefully inadequate" and the department is understaffed at times.

Dewey Mayor T.J. Redefer says the report allows the town and police department to grow. Redefer and the town commissioners already addressed one of the report's concerns by raising police salaries.

"Morale is number one and having officers that are proud to be Dewey Beach Police Officers is critical
to success for our little town," Redefer tells WRDE. "I'm very hopeful that by taking these first steps and letting our police department know today that we are going to do what needs to be done perhaps will help recruit officers for the future so that we can do a better job all the way around."

Phil Winkler believes salary and compensation changes will keep talented officers around. He says he's seen the understaffing concerns firsthand.

"I wasn't aware of the magnitude of the issue that's described in the report, but [...] I am not surprised," he says. "We will take steps to correct it."

Jeffrey Smith with the Dewey Citizens for Accountability says his group--which advocates for transparency in town--welcomes the report and supports the police department. The group would like to see recommended policy and training changes implemented.

"We hope to be able to push a few things. One is that there's some kind of recording of the 911 lines which is a related issue to the dispatchers not being properly trained," he says. "Second related is that the training of the police and the dispatchers seems to be an absolute mandatory thing to do for the liability of the town and for the health and safety of the residents."

Smith also supports the report's recommendation that the Chief of Police host more community meetings and round table discussions.

While the report expressed concerns for the station condition and career development opportunities, it does say the Dewey Beach Police Department has enough funding for a full-time department. The report also found that overall, residents are happy with the police services provided.

The Dewey Beach Police Department declined to comment on this story, referring our reporter to the town administration. Town Manager Scott Koenig says everyone is committed to improving the department and putting the report's recommendations in place.

To read a full copy of the report, click here.

 

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