Dover Moves Closer to Hiring First External Candidate for Police - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover Moves Closer to Hiring First External Candidate for Police Chief in 70 Years

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DOVER, Del.- For the first time in more than seven decades, Delaware's second largest city is poised to hire its first police chief from outside the ranks of its own law enforcement agency.

Dover's Police Chief Selection Committee on Friday interviewed the final three candidates from a pool of six people that did not include anyone currently employed with the Dover Police Department.

If one of the candidates is nominated for police chief and confirmed by Dover council members, it would mark the first time the city has hired an external candidate for police chief since 1949 when James Turner was recruited away from Delaware State Police.

"We're doing what police departments across the country and across the state do: they look within and they look around and they choose the best candidate," said Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen, who is also the chairman of the panel.

The closest remaining candidate to an internal hire may be Tim Mullaney, a former Dover cop and U.S. Marshal who ran as a Democratic candidate for state attorney general in 2018.

Mullaney on Friday declined comment as he left city hall following his meeting with the committee.

Overall, the panel interviewed five men and one woman behind closed doors this week. Candidates have declined to comment on the hiring process but come from states including Missouri and Pennsylvania.

It's unclear how many Dover police officers applied for chief. The only applicant to publicly announce he was seeking the job is Capt. David Spicer, who is also suing the city in federal court over claims he was passed over for a promotion in 2017 to police chief because he is white.

Marvin Mailey, who is black and had been serving as the deputy chief in 2017, was instead hired as chief of police after a hiring process that sparked Spicer's lawsuit.

The lawsuit also draws attention to Mailey's promotion to deputy chief, which sparked a grievance by several officers who claimed Mailey was unfairly promoted above because of his race. The city ultimately settled the complaint and former Mayor Carleton Carey resigned, despite denying allegations he pressured former police chief Paul Bernat to promote Mailey.

Former Dover Police Chief Jim Hosfelt said one advantage to hiring an external candidate as police chief is that the city's next top cop would be disconnected to that controversy.

But Hosfelt also said he'd prefer to see an internal candidate get the job and noted that an outsider would need to acclimate themselves to the various challenges and issues faced by Dover police officers.

"I think there were several candidates within the police department that would have made a fine chief of police," he said.

Rev. Rita Mishoe Paige, a leader with the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Dover who campaigned for Mailey's hire, said she believes an external candidate may be able to bring fresh insights on dealing with gang violence and improving community relations.

"I think it may be time for something new...something we haven't thought about," he said.

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