Question about a new Chief...

Sussex County Online User Forums: Fenwick Island Discussion Forum: Question about a new Chief...
By Harry Sachs on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 04:27 pm:

If and when we are to get a new Chief in Fenwick, are we going to have to allow the Ringling Brothers Council Circus to appoint him? What is wrong with a community built panel of business, land and rental owners coming together for the purpose of reviewing choices, and allowing public opinion to be heard, giving the citizens of Fenwick some say in the hiring of the new Chief. Why not let the people actually have some say in what thier council does to protect them. I understand that we voted them in to represent us, but I didnt vote for them to act the way they have the last two years. I guess what I am asking is this... would a little bit more community involvement hurt the Fenwick community? I for one dont think it would. I also think it would be a good idea to farm out the panel to seek out a new Chief. It couldnt hurt to have a list of candidates drawn up by an independent party.

By gumshoe on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 05:38 pm:

Mr. Sachs, I agree with you. Let their be a chiefs selection committee made up of full time town residents. Let this committee select their choices from three to five candidates that they feel are the most qualified, out of all who would apply. Let these preselected candidates speak at a town meeting, in front of the town residents and answer their questions and address their concerns. Afterwards let the town residents select, by unaminous vote who they feel would make the best chief for their town. Give the power of protection back to FI's citizens. Who are long overdue for some say in the matter.

By FI-Landshark on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 06:03 pm:

Since a new Chief now has to be selected, I would favor a committee approach. I think the committee should definitely include business people, residents (part and full-time) and owners. Perhaps the committee could then make their recommendations to the Council for confirmation. I also think gumshoes' idea of a public presentation is a great idea. Clearly, there should be as much involvement with the citizens in this selection process as possible.

By bill weistling, jr. on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 06:53 pm:

Some great ideas on this selection process.
O.C. is currently going through the same process. A selection committe was comprised of Greenbelt, Md. and Annapolis, Md. police chiefs, along with a deputy chief of Talbot County Sheriff's office. The Town mngr. and human resorces director are also involved. The final decision rests with the Town Council, but NO council persons are involved in the initial selection process.
I think that this procedure, along with a combination of some of the 'chat' line suggestions are good.
F.I town council has made its decision on Chief Dickerson. No one knows what will happen if the Chief appeals, and perhaps wins.
With all that is going on, I feel that members of Council should abstain from being a part of the selection process for a new chief.
Let's get an outside, impartial panel of PROFESSIONALS to search, screen, select, and recommend candidates.
NO member of Council OR the public is qualified to do this.
The final selection procedure can include a lot of the above suggestions.
Show up at the Mon. morning hearing and PARTICIPATE.

By gumshoe on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 08:00 pm:

No disrespect to you Mr. Weistling Jr., but FI is no OC. I believe that the residents of FI both full and part time, and members of the business community are intelligent enough and quite capable of narrowing down the selections of applicants. As far as professional law enforcement input, the panel could get their input from local area police chiefs, who have a good record of officer retention rates, such as South Bethany and Ocean View. After all, they are most familiar with the area and know what it takes to hold onto good officers. What does Greenbelt, Annapolis, or Talbot Co., know about this area or FI's needs. Once again, I believe the residents and business owners of FI need more input in this matter.
OC should have more input from the outside, because they deal with crime and urban problems on a much higher scale.

By bill weistling, jr. on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 09:08 pm:

Don't disgree with GUMSHOE. I'm using O.C. as an example of using outside resources. F.I. can certainly use local towns, or towns of a similar size throughout the state.
My point is that the panel should be independent from the Council.
Council has decided to search for a new police chief.
Be fair and impartial and abstain from being part of the selection procedure.
Re-read your last paragraph and the sentence preceding it GUMSHOE. Whether it's O.C or F.I., let's get input from qualified people. Small local town pd or larger pd--what does it matter. Let's get some opinions from both. The more input the better.

By gumshoe on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 10:46 pm:

Mr. Weisting, Jr., I may have misunderstood your previous paragraph, when you stated " outside, impartial panel of professionals" as to exclude the locals from the process. The public to me means the residents and members of business, which should have a right to be part of the screening process. Granted, law enforcement professionals are needed, because I know, that generally, the public does not have an understanding of the day to day running of a department or policing procedures, but the public, especially after all this mess at FI, does have certain expectations, which must be met by the candidates. I agree that the FI council should not have a part in the screening process, which was demonstrated by their contracting of the current OIC.

By Sussex Cop on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 11:29 pm:

Given the current situation and present "membership" of the Fenwick Island town council, it would certainly behoove all to appoint an independent review board.

As pointed out, this is done is many other areas, large cities and small towns alike. In many cases, such independent boards are formed for the purpose of avoiding corruption, criminal activity and unethical methodology as practiced by the current FI local government.

Now, how do FI residents, property and business owners go about instituting and forming such a board or committee? Are the Feds or state Attorney General's Office responsible for mandating a decree upon the town government? I'm certainly no legal expert, but I would think that an outside authority could force that type of process or initiative.

By Harry Sachs on Thursday, March 06, 2003 - 02:00 am:

Sussex Cop, Gumshoe and Mr Weistling,

I am grateful to know there is so much support for the idea of a panel of citizenry. As was stated above, perhaps the townspeople are not clear on the day to day runnings of the department and such, but I do agree that we are quite qualified to make demands of the possible candidates. Demands such as a positive record in their previous department(s), honesty and integrity and character, leadership qualities. These things we should be able to question and expect a reasonable answer to. Would it not be beneficial to allow a public forum whereupon the townspeople can ask these things of candidates and get straight, truthful answers with supportive documentation or corroboration?
As to the selection of a community panel.. why not a random choice of names from all three lists, i.e., Property owners, business owners and rental owners. Pick 3 names from each list, 2 panelists and one alternate. Make the drawing public, like a lottery, no chance for favor or missapropriation there. Allow the panel to hear from the public with their concerns and questions they would like answered and allow them to prioritize them and ask them of the candidates, and then voting among themselves based on testimony and allow them to present their, and therefore the towns decision to the council. Perhaps even put it up as a public ballot to select candidates to be questioned. Where I come from, they call it democracy. There are alternatives and opportunities here to be had, all we have to do is convince someone higher up the food chain than the town council to implement these ideas. I think we all agree that the greed and ego level on the council is too high to allow them to make this decision by themselves. Besides, I do believe that if they want to be re-elected they will pay attention to EVERYTHING the residents of Fenwick are saying.
I agree with Mr Weistling that we are not qualified to search out, suggest or chose proper candidates for Chief, though as I said before, that can be farmed out to an independent board of review. I agree with Sussex Cop, while I am no legal expert, I do believe there are steps to take and proper channels to accomplish this task. If nothing else, it is definitely worth looking into further.

By gumshoe on Thursday, March 06, 2003 - 06:38 am:

Sounds good, Harry Sachs. I hope it can happen that way for FI's sake. The only problem I forsee is, if Dickerson appeals the firing. What candidate would want to accept the position, if Dickerson could be legally be reinstated in an appeal? This might scare the candidates away because of all the turmoil.

By Bigwig on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 05:59 pm:

Forget about renters, business owners etc. If a panel or committee were to be selected it should be composed of registered voters of Fenwick Is. only.

By gumshoe on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 07:57 pm:

Bigwig, If a business owner is an owner of the land that the business is sitting on, they most definiately should be entitled to be part and be heard. As for business owners, who are renting their space, are they not also paying income to FI either through taxes or through licensing. Homeowners and the business community must work together with the police department in order to establish a safe town. As Harry Sachs, Weistling, Sussex Cop, and myself have agreed, the more input, the better. Look who your registered voters voted into council. Need I say more?

By Harry Sachs on Tuesday, March 11, 2003 - 07:02 pm:

Well put Gumshoe! As a Community, we have to ALL be a part, from top to bottom. Should business and rental owners not get any say about how they are protected? No, just as any townsperson should have their say as well. Remember, there is no "I" in TEAM.. we all have to work together.

By gumshoe on Tuesday, March 11, 2003 - 07:38 pm:

I can hardly believe my ears. WBOC news has just reported that the FI council members are going to continue hire police officers. How ignorant is that idea? This will be so detrimental in establishing a quality police force in FI.
It should be left to the new chief to do the hiring. What good will it do to hire a new qualified chief, if the council has hired a bunch of non-quality officers, which could be a bag of worms for the new chief to deal with. If FI hires a quality chief, the chief will be able to hire quality officers. The council is just going to make problems for the FIPD for years to come.
I believe all hiring should be stopped until the new chief is hired. Make the current OIC work the street until his contract expires and DO NOT renew his contract. If need be, let DSP answer calls in FI, until the new chief is in place with his choice of officers on the street of FI.
If this is not done, the chief's committee is just wasting their time.

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