Should Sheriff's Department Expand?

Sussex County Online User Forums: Sussex County Delaware Discussion Forum: Should Sheriff's Department Expand?
By Eric Magill on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 02:08 am:

Sussex County Sheriff Robert Reed presented a new proposal for an expansion of his department into a law enforcement agency to help with policing problems in the county during the county council meeting on Tuesday, June 3, 2003.

When the sheriff made a similar proposal two years ago, we didn't believe the sheriff had the proper backing of the people for such an expansion and we didn't believe his plan was viable enough to make a difference in the lives of Sussex Countians.

Now, after Reed's clear-cut victory last November over a candidate who pledged to continue the department as a paper-serving organization, we believe county council owes the citizens of this county an earnest effort to cooperate with Reed in developing the type of Sheriff's department they voted for.

Certainly, county taxpayers deserve better than the Mickey-Mouse, band-aid approach of paying for more state police protection that county taxpayers should already be getting out of their state taxes.

We're not convinced Reed's proposal on June 3 is viable, either, but County Administrator Robert Stickels and Finance Director Dave Baker can certainly help Reed develop a viable plan, and we believe council should direct them to do so. A viable plan could well result in a tax increase, too, but taxpayers may be ready to pay for better police protection.

What is your opinion?

By gumshoe on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 06:57 pm:

I am in total agreement of Sussex Co. having it's own county sheriffs force. I'm tired of my tax dollars being wasted on DSP for no police protection.

By Sussex Cop on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 06:13 am:

I am certainly for a county law enforcement agency, be it county police or sheriff's department. I live in "no man's land", in DSP jurisdiction. There is no patrol on my street and little or no traffic and criminal enforcement efforts in the neighborhood. In most cases, when an emergency exists on my street or in my neighborhood, local police departments are sent.

It boggles my mind that Sussex County residents have allowed the council to spend county taxes to fund a state agency (the Delaware State Police). DSP is already funded by our taxes and is a STATE agency ... not a county agency. In effect, we are paying TWICE for DSP services. Services, that I may add, are so poorly administered that the road troopers suffer under ridiculous policies and practices. It is a fact that personnel have been shuffled around so much that they are constantly short staffed on all shifts. Troopers routinely tell me that they put up with undue criticism, stress and mismanagement from their "superiors".

On a related note, it is also a fact that when DSP receives county funding for new troopers, they simply take an equal amount of troopers off the road and put them in specialized units. In other words, we have no more on the road than we started with and DSP claims more troopers are on the job. It's the typical, ongoing political garbage and stunts the remaining DSP Good Old Boys have been doing for years.

There is no perfect public safety system, but we can certainly improve the one we have in Sussex County. Creating and expanding a county law enforcement agency is a critical need for the county. We need to stop paying the state twice for their poor services and fund our own.

Maybe we can even get some of these good troopers and give them a better job.

By NeedProtection on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 01:01 pm:

There are not enough state troopers providing protection to all of Sussex towns. The council keeps approving development but they are doing nothing for the effects of those developments. The state should not have to provide public safety for the county. That should be the county's responsibilities. I am not getting anything back for my taxes.

On two occassions I needed police assistance and it took them an hour to get to me. Many of us do not have local enforcement of nearby communities to provide assistance to the state police. The state police are over worked as it is.

If other states permit sheriffs to do law enforcement why can't Sussex county? DE code permits it so should they. I'm in total support of Sheriff Reed. County council needs to wake up to the repercussions of their decisions especially if they want to hold onto their seats.

By BC,AC.RC on Monday, July 21, 2003 - 10:55 pm:

Keep hanging tough Sheriff Reed, The common sense people are behind you!!

By Sussex Cop on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 10:33 am:


This morning DSP was dispatched to a serious/fatal motor vehicle collision in Sussex County at 7:11 AM. The first unit arrived on scene at 7:34 AM ... 23 minutes later.

Those are the official dispatch CAD times recorded by Suscom.

Anyone that tries to DISPUTE the fact that we need MORE than DSP in Sussex County is either a fool, or a simple political pawn of DSP.

By Sussex Cop on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 04:02 am:

The headline:

"Incompetent Sussex County Council Does It Again"

Why did we, as Sussex County taxpayers, give the STATE over one million dollars (that's over $1,000,000) to the Delaware State Police?

I repeat ... why did we give our COUNTY funding to the state when we ALREADY pay state taxes?

Our incompetent county council has caused us to pay TWICE for state police protection and services that we don't get anyway. It's unexcusable, irresponsible and politically incorrect.

All that money should have been put to good use, such as expanding the sheriff's department or funding existing local police departments.

By the way, has anyone here figured out yet that local PD personnel outnumber state police personnel. In other words, Delaware is predominately protected by city and town police ... not DSP!!! Gee, there's a shock.

By Concerned!!! on Monday, August 04, 2003 - 04:53 pm:

If we turn our backs to this DSP issue, they will catch up with the total. I believe in equal level L/E representation, local, county , state, but definately not all state. Where is your checks and balances. It seems Sussex CC does not care whether that exists, which is why they cannot give a straight answer to the issue as to why they will not support their own sheriff. Instead Mr. Dukes takes it on the road and at a "COUNTY prayer breakfast" of all places bashes the sheriff and the entire department for doing what is right and trying to serve the people of Sussex county. Nice CHRISTIAN approach Mr. Dukes!!

By nypd,ret. on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 10:56 pm:

I am still trying to figure out how this state has suppressed the Sheriff's office for so long. In almost every other state the Sheriff is among, or just plain is, the premier law enforcement agency at the local level. The Sheriff dates back to old England and was carried over here many years ago. If I may guess, I do beleive the power of the Sheriff is written in law at the federal and local levels. I'm sure the Sheriff's attorney has looked into this. I wonder why Sussex County and State politicians do not know this?. The Sheriff himself is THE ONLY head law enforcement official that is appointed {or removed} by the citizens, not through politics. Isn't that a better system to ensure service to the public? Why wouldn't County and State politicians want the public to have that power? The public should support the Sheriff, the way this county is growing it could only make things better.

By Bobo on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 12:46 pm:

" I may guess, I do beleive the power of the Sheriff is written in law at the federal and local levels."

There is no federal law which states that a state is forced to give police auhtority to a sheriff's office.

"The Sheriff himself is THE ONLY head law enforcement official that is appointed {or removed} by the citizens, not through politics. Isn't that a better system to ensure service to the public?"

Actually in almost all states, the district attorney or states attorney is the chief law enforcement officer and is also an elected official.

By nypd, ret. on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 05:48 pm:

Hey BOBO, maybe the state doesn't have to give power to the Sheriff, but then why do most states do and use them for law enforcement? My reference to the "head law enforcement official" meant your badge carrying person who you may get to see and talk to from time to time, not an attorney at the State Capitol that few citizens will ever have contact with. On the subject of State and District Attorneys, not all are elected, some are put there by the Governor....again, politics.

By Sussex Cop on Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - 11:26 pm:

The problem in Sussex County, Delaware is two-fold:

DSP "god ol' boy" politics and a lack of education and experience of Sussex County council members.

Heck, where else can DSP say "Give us your COUNTY taxes to AND your STATE taxes to pay for our service." Only the simple Sussex County Council fall for that time after time.

They still haven't figured out that there are the same number of troopers (under-staffed even!) on the road every time they give them hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars.

Two groups of people suffer here: Sussex County taxpayers and DSP Troopers that are understaffed and overworked. They (we) need a helping hand out there! We need a county law enforcement agency!

By Sussex Cop on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 01:30 am:

Frankford has awakened the region to some old news: DSP costs too much and doesn't cut it.

Again, the facts: Sussex County taxpayers (myself included) pay state taxes for DSP services. Then we paid THE STATE ... again ... with COUNTY tax funds for DSP services. If that doesn't seem redundant, illogical or just plain stupid, than you have a serious brain stem problem.

Sussex County needs an expanded law enforcement agency. The options are clear and very simple: 1. amend the state law and expand the sheriff's office to a policing agency; 2. create a new county police department; or 3. create "townships" (or COMBINE local police departments) to cover larger areas.

This isn't rocket science, people. You have several Sussex County police officers posting on here ... exposing the truths and reality that most citizens don't know or recognize! Politics will play a key role in the choices made. But that choice has to be made by the taxpaying, voting citizens of Sussex County, Delaware.

On a side note, I have read other garbage posts about the costs of funding a new county police agency or expanding the sheriff's office as being too costly. Those writers don't take into account (or understand) that the county has handed over hundreds of thousands of dollars, on more than one occasion, to the state for DSP services. Why are we paying twice for state services? Why fund state services - that already exist - with county taxes? Why are we paying twice for public safety services that are insufficient and inefficient?

There is no justifiable or intelligent reason to support continued county funding of DSP services.
I am not saying that the state police are a bunch of useless, wildcard big-hats ... the road dogs do what they can with what they have! I'm saying that we need to move on to bigger, better police services in Delaware. Let's start with Sussex County!

By sfi on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 08:44 am:

Is there a crime wave in the county I'm not aware of? All the police do now is radar and waste time pulling over seat belt violators. Keep up the good work!

By JC on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 10:38 pm:

Take a good look in Seaford my friend and ask again , "is there a crime wave?" I bet the Seaford and surrounding area residents think so. It's coming, just wait and see.

By sfi on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 08:06 am:

All of Sussex county should have a police force because Seaford has a problem?

By Gumshoe on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 09:47 pm:

Not just Seaford, but look at all the crime in the Longneck area, which include rapes, armed roberies and break ins. We just had a murder in Laurel. Try watching the news sometime. If you think that this crime trend will not expand and grow to other areas of Sussex, your very naive. Sussex Co. NEEDS its own police department. As the crime grows and its path of victims widens, the old council will be replaced, by voters, who will not settle for the lack of protection by DSP.

By We Need!!! on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 07:05 am:

As the area expands, and becomes more populated, the people are trying to take arrest rights away from the sheriff and are questioning his athority.
It's out of control. I'd like to see anyone tell a sheriff in Texas or Colorado that they do not have arrest rights, or they can't have lights on their cars.

We want the money that more people are bringing to the area but that does mean that there will be more crime. We need to beef up our forces and stand up for the rights of Sheriff Reed, make the Sheriff's Dept. bigger and tougher. Give them back their lights, as they are emergency responders in some cases. Give them their weapons, and quit treating the Sheriff's Dept. like they are petty and in the way...

By Sussex Cop on Thursday, December 04, 2003 - 11:33 pm:

"sfi" must not read the newspaper, watch TV or look out his window. Crime is rampant and OBVIOUS in Sussex County.

"sfi" must be one of the last few people that believes he/she/it is living in a "Quiet Resort" ...

Hey, "sfi" .. try reading your local newspapers and watching the news sometime! Better yet, go on a ride-along with any police department in Sussex County. Get educated on the real world around you before you post garbage and make yourself look silly!

By sfi on Monday, December 08, 2003 - 07:44 am:

Speeding is not "rampant crime" and if crime is so "rampant" why does the state police spend hours writing seatbelt violations? You have an inflated self worth, get back to work, I think a parking meter just expired.

By AMAZED on Wednesday, December 10, 2003 - 08:52 am:

well its plain to see SFI s view on the police and what he thinks they are for, so a raise of hands to vote that his posts do not count!!!

By Melissa on Thursday, December 11, 2003 - 07:18 am:

The other day on Rt. 1, I was heading south and safely changed lanes. The next thing I knew, a guy in a jeep was on my bumper and waving at me to move and at that point I couldn't and I continued, ignoring the guy giving me the finger in my rear view mirror. Finally, I slowed down to the speed limit and REALLY pissed this guy off.
He was flashing his lights at me. With a Maryland tag, and no rescue emblems on his jeep, when he finally took a left turn I saw he was pulling an empty trailer. That guy needed a 'chill pill' because to think he could be treating every other person on the road like that. I'm a good driver, but too many are nervous behind the wheel especially when someone is acting like that.

Carrying on the way this guy was IS a crime on our roads, but the police never seem to be in the area when things like this happen. We would have been on the Rt 1 camera at Rt 24 heading south, if anyone were watching at that moment, and if the camera was facing the right direction.

By Melissa on Thursday, December 11, 2003 - 07:22 am:

By the way, I'd work for Sheriff Reed in a heartbeat. Or would be the Sheriff IF they could carry their guns again and have their lights back, as they are safety concerns when dealing with the public.

By AMAZED on Thursday, December 11, 2003 - 12:52 pm:

Melissa, there is no truth to the fact that the Sheriff or his deputies do not have guns, they are all armed, trained and certified through the Delaware FBI firearms course that all officers in Delaware attend. As for the lights, they have some lights, but are discouraged from using them for some weird reason that no common sense can align. The sheriff is available to assist in highway matters if there is one nearby at the time. It amazes me how politics can put people at unreasonable risk only to delight their own selfish ideals. DSP needs the help everyday, but the county council refuses to see that even a few more sets of eyes are better than nothing , so they will not give Sheriff Reed what he needs to proceed. I hope that everyone is smart enough to realize that this CC is destroying this county little by little with their narrow minded approach to things. Any one who wants to help, complain to county council that we need the sheriff out there to help these days, put these antiquated ideas away, and think of what is best for the people of this county. GOD SPEED

By Melissa on Thursday, December 11, 2003 - 01:11 pm:

I totally agree that there need to be more eyes, and however they want to title themselves matters not, as long as they are working towards keeping the peace, and not out there with an attitude about other law enforcement agencies...their goals should all be one and the same.

CC will be bought and paid for by the ones who are the most organized or who have the most to's clear to me that CC is not an unbiased point of view when it comes to certain developers and politicians in the area. This entire county is corrupt when it comes down to it, and the ones who aren't in each others pockets are not encouraged to enlighten us with their opinions or facts because they will suffer.

By AMAZED on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 06:47 pm:

repeated calls to CC to encourage them to support your sheriff is one way the voice of the people will prevail

By status quo on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 01:33 pm:

It is so nice to hear how other states have county sheriffs, and it also so nice that you have so much knowledge of how things are done in other states. I am wondering how most of you would feel if prior to your move here people moved into your former area and tried to change as many things as your doing here in Sussex County. If this place needs so many changes to the way we have been doing everything for many, many years, why did you bother to move here. This issue is sort of split between the East and West sides of the county, mostly the people in the West side of the county like the way things are and like the County Councilmen that represent them (ad will re-elect them in the future). I heard some beach clown on the radio the other day trashing Dale Dukes, it seemed kinda funny how they want Dale out of office but they don't live in his district. I live in his district and as long as he keeps Reed where he belongs he will always have my vote.
Good luck to all of you and your efforts but I still wonder why your here.

By native on Friday, January 09, 2004 - 02:29 pm:

you know, status quo ( wow I'm a poet)

I hear what you are saying about moving in and changing things, but the thing is, things are changing because people are moving here. I wish I knew of a legitimate, legal way to stop the influx of so many new residents, but I don't know of any. So we have to be open to modifying the system we live under to handle the changing needs of Sussex Countians, new and old alike. You may have a point about the issue being split East West, much like every other issue that the CC takes up. Have you ever given thought as to why that is? I am certain that its not because the people on the East side are from areas where the County Sheriff was a full service agency. But rather because of the population density there is a desire for more police protection. I don't begrude the County Council for not wanting to start up a full-service County agnecy to handle policing, I do think that they are foolish for giving away millions to the State for a service that would be provided anyway. Dale is a good man, but he needs to think of the needs of the County as a whole as well as the desires of those in his district, sometimes there will be a conflict. This is where you will find out if a man's dedication is to serving the public or getting re-elected.

By AMAZED on Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - 09:01 pm:

Satus quo, your point is taken, however, I too am from another area where the government did sit on their fanny as people moved in in droves, and that created problems like you would not believe. I believe in the sheriff and what he is trying to do. Dont you know that he is elected and answers to the needs of the people in a manner that is more pleasing to the needs of small town ideas. This is a fact throughout the country. What could you possible have against the idea of a full service sheriff if they can get the job done cheaper. I dont understand you thinking that things are going to stay the way they have been. If you dont change and meet the challenge, Sussex Countians will be the last to benefit from the influx of people moving in. Get on the stick man.

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