Dewey Beach Commissioners Review Top Priorities from Warren Report

DEWEY BEACH, Del. - An organizational analysis of the Dewey Beach Police Department lists 35 recommendations for improvements. On Saturday Commissioners will discuss which improvements should take priority. 

Retired State Police Officer Captain Gregory Warren authored the analysis and it was published on June 30th, 2019. Mayor T.J. Redefer says it was Commissioner Dale Cooke who made sure the town kept its promise to have the review completed and made sure money was available to fund the study. 

Warren's report reveals that the police station is in dire need of replacement and that there is a concern for low salary, a limited chance for promotion, and a lack of training. The report points at a deep divide within the town due to personal and political conflicts and it acknowledges that the town relies on part time and seasonal police officers during its peak periods. 

Redefer acknowledges that a referendum would have to be held before a new police station could be built. 

"As elected officials, we're the ones to monitor and make sure that we set up the policies and procedures to make sure that they have the tools to do their job well," says Redefer. 

Redefer says part of tomorrow's meeting is about setting deadlines. "Some of the things will begin immediately, some will begin in the next couple of months, some will have to be implemented before the new season begins."

35 recommendations for improvement are outlined in Warren's report, with the first being to hire additional full-time, part time, and seasonal sworn personnel.

Commissioner Paul Bauer acknowledges that the current salary may not be competitive to recruit the police force the town needs. 

"It puts us at a disadvantage if we're at the low end of the scale," says Bauer. "I think we need to revisit that and bring it up to a higher pay standard."

The report notes that overall, the people in Dewey Beach are pleased with police performance. Bob Singer who has owned East of Maui for 40 years can attest to that.

"When I am driving through town, when I'm here late, I see their presence," says Singer. "I think that's important to keep people aware that there is a police presence and to keep things safe."

Jeffrey Smith with the Dewey Citizens for Accountability says he and others had hoped for more transparency by the council in posting the documents associated with the agenda. Redefer says that would be a safety and security issue.

Dewey Beach Police declined to comment and referred us to Town Manager Scott Koenig who says the purpose of the workshop is to get feedback from commissioners and the public so that the town can begin to determine which police improvements should be funded first. Bauer says some funds will come from the recent military surplus auction, which generated $180,000.

The workshop begins at 9 a.m. at the Dewey Beach Lifesaving Station on Dagsworthy Street.


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