NEW Police Chief!!

Sussex County Online User Forums: Fenwick Island Discussion Forum: NEW Police Chief!!
By bill weistling,jr. on Monday, March 17, 2003 - 06:59 pm:

Sorry for the strong come-on.
Just wanted all interested citizens to know that tomorrow March 18 at 1:00 p.m. there will be a special meeting titled "Fenwick Is. Search Committee".
The meeting will include:
Ads. for new chief.
election of chairperson for the committee.
develop selection process.
and other items.
Full agenda items are available at the Town's website--www.
Great opportunity for all interested citizens to attend and give their input.
The process of hiring a new police chief is VERY important to this Town. The police budget is about $400,000 (based on the 2002-03 budget of about $1,100,000 total).
If you are able to attend, please do so and give your input.
Contact others who do not have access to computers.
The Town's outside information board along the highway does not advertise this meeting.
No meetings, other than the regular monthly Council meetings, are ever placed on this board with 7 days notice. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of people pass this sign in a week, including most of the Town's year round residents. Many property owners also return on the weekends.
This information board is a valuable asset to the Town. Use it to inform the citizens of important LOCAL matters.
For Council:
It's not how many people attend. It's the effort to utilize ALL resources to encourage public participation.

By FI-Landshark on Monday, March 17, 2003 - 08:52 pm:

Maybe if we renamed the Message Board "Mayor Baunchauk's Memory Maker" it would be more utilized.

By gumshoe on Monday, March 17, 2003 - 11:04 pm:

As I have said before, if the FI Council continues to hire FIPD Officers, without input from the newly selected chief, there will be problems for the new chief, for years to come.
My hope for FI is, that a quality chief can be found that can outlast the current council.
My opinion would be to utilize the current FIPD Officers and DSP, until the new chief is in place. Then allow the new chief to do the officer selection.

By March 18 on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 08:45 am:

Gumshoe, I hope you go to the meeting and make that suggestion. There will be two Law Enforcement representatives on the panel who may or maynot agree with you, but if they do and note that to the Council Members, perhaps you will have done the town a big favor. Putting your thoughts here will not be something that causes Council to sit up and take notice in a positive way.

By gumshoe on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 05:59 pm:

Dear March 18, Unfortunately I am not entitled to speak, because I am not a FI town resident. But, because this is a public forum and I am the public, I will voice my opinions. I post these messages in the hopes that people, who are not familiar with the workings of a PD and who live in the town, will be able to read this and voice their opinion, because it will have an impact on them. If the FI Council continues to hire police officers, and the people that they select are not quality officer material, then the new chief will inherit a big basket of troubles and will be unable to create a quality police department, which I feel, the citizens of FI deserve. The new chief will be busy attempting to re-create the department, by weeding out the non-quality officers, which will involve more civil suits, costing the FI residents more of their tax dollars, because it was not handled properly to begin with. The new chief will also, already have the added stress of dealing with the current FI Council. He or she will be set up for failure from the get go.
By the way, who are the law enforcement panel members? That could be good or bad depending upon, who they are. If one is the current FIPD OIC.......oh my!
By the way, "March 18", if your message was written to me in a positive way, believe me I would love to help in your selection process. If, on the other hand, you are a FI Council person and you don't like me posting my opinions, then too bad!!!!

By Big Surprise...Elsie again on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 08:29 am:

I arrived a few minutes late to the meeting but picked the names (Captain Nolt and Captain Hughes, I believe) up from the conversation going on. It was a public meeting as to open to be heard, but I believe, not as to comment really, though we did not try to comment during it. Only one other was there from the public when I arrived. Alas, he is not a resident nor entitled to vote or sit on a future Council either, though I am positive he would be a wonderful asset if he were to be on Council. Time for my broken record about Apathy! Prior commitments had him leave about a half hour before the meeting ended. He did share his thoughts with me before leaving. We did have one question or reaction in common which I am sure we will address with the parties involved in the future. In the last ten minutes of the meeting, Jack Childers showed up. He made a suggestion that I believe was followed up on based on instructions I heard Buzz give Donna later re: edits.
I thought the meeting was very well prepped by Buzz. I thought the questions and suggestions by all were well thought out. The dimension added by the two Captains was right on least one is in Human Resources and has the related laws and fuzzy lines down pat. The other seems to as well. The suggestions offered about various aspects of the hiring process were excellent and tactfully offered. While Buzz facilitated the meeting, he encouraged at many opportunities that it was the Committee's decision as to this or that. Council and public members of the Committee had excellent input and the Committee made their decisions on some aspects that did not necessarily follow Buzz's suggestions. I say this only to point out for the wary that this group is one of independent thinkers and doesn't necessarily simply follow a suggested path. Don't get that comment wrong either...Buzz's suggestion seemed to be one of potentially facilitating a process, not an instruction per se. The public attending was given a copy of some of the info they were working from mid meeting or so. I thought it was very well done and open as we have been requesting. I do realize that once applications and resumes become part of the meeting, we will not be able to observe much for privacy reasons. I appreciate the efforts I saw displayed for this meeting.
Good Luck to the Committee! See, I do kudos as well!

By March 18 on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 11:05 pm:

It was meant in a positive way, Gumshoe. And, just to clarify, I am not a Council member. Did I sound like one? Sorry! I can see where you are coming from with your explanation. If it were to happen that some of the current officers weren't up to snuff, they may be gone before the new Chief arrives. It doesn't take long for negatives to appear if they are going to. If you think you know something less than positive about a current officer, maybe they learned a valuable lesson from whatever you think you know having occurred. Aren't officers quasi-military in style and carry out the directives of the superior officer? If the existing officers are doing their job and if the new Chief has good management and communication and motivational skills, the concerns should be minimized, I would think. How many "if"'s are in that sentence? Mature adults, dedicated to their careers, can work together to the benefit of all. Those who can't need to find another avenue of income.

By gumshoe on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 06:55 am:

Thank you March 18, for clarifying your position. I may have perceived some of your previous message the wrong way. I agree with you that mature adults should be able to work well together and that the the the police are a quasi-military organization.
The problem though is two fold. First, it's my belief that an experienced police officer, who would be a chief, has more insight into what is expected of a police officer than civilians. The chief can pick up on things during an interview that a civilian panel or council would not. There are some non-quality officers, who drift from department to department. A polce chief would be more apt to pick up on this. A chief can also get vibes, during an interview as to whether the officer might be over aggrssive or to passive in their dealings with the public. Police officers know, from experience, more of the right questions to ask.
Secondly, no matter what the work place is, subordinates in any job are suppose to be mature. But, in reality, do they always act mature? No. This is true in police departments as well. It is more important than other occupations, that the police supervisor has the support and loyalty of his/her officers. It is as just as important that the chief has earned the respect of his/her rank and file by being a person of integrity and honesty, who treats his subordinates fairly. Then you will have a quality department with officers working towards the same goal, to serve and protect its citizens, as a well blended team. This can be accomplished through the new chief doing the officer selection.

By Elsie here on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 09:48 am:

Can I interject here? Gumshoe, March 18, Hi! Gumshoe, it can, I agree, but may not be a trait exclusive to police. I expect Nolt and Hughes can give that perspective to the interview process in finding a Chief for town, but I don't think they will be involved with the hiring of other officers technically. Who knows, they have been very impressive and cooperative, maybe they'd help a little more. Maybe the processes picked up by the committee from working with Captains will carry over if they decide to hire before the new Chief.
By the way, Fenwick's Town webpage may be of interest to many. Besides announcing the next budget workshop for Thursday the 27th, including Public Works and Police Dept considerations, it has the web ad for the new Chief. Everyone come support the process. Be there or be willing not to complain about the outcome. Happy Spring!

By Scott Mumford on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 12:11 pm:

I would like to stress that participating in town matters by the public, whether it's police chief, budget, etc.. is so important. I, for one, am not a tax paying citizen, but my future will involve the town of Fenwick Island. I think that this open forum on SCO is one way to express your concerns of the town, but certainly not the most effective way. Attending most,if not all the meetings in the last trying month, has been an educational experience for me. I have learned a lot, and I want to continue to be involved in the going-ons of the town. I feel that the council has realized their mistakes, and are going to correct those mistakes swiftly and accurately, we can all only hope. I think the feeling of a certain few is, one can certainly forgive, but one will not forget. One of the issues I want addressed is councilperson's accountability. The current council needs to address this matter so future councilpersons who commit any kind of wrong doing are held accountable and some kind of reprimand is then handed down. I'm past who did what, I want measures taken that something like what the town is going through will never happen again. If it does, the accountability measures must take place.
I hope more citizens of the town of Fenwick Island will participate and/or attend in such workshops, committee meetings, regular council meeting, etc... These meetings are much more informative then what you may find in this forum. I'll probably catch some heat for that, but I believe this to be true. I understand that most of the meetings come at a hard time of most of the working public, I for one have a hard time getting away during the summer months, but I do what I can. I do stress and have stressed that the town's bulletin board on the highway, needs to be used to annouce ALL open meetings no matter what. At least the council does there part, then as a public we must do ours, ATTEND THESE MEETINGS. Only myself and one other resident attended the latest police chief meeting, though I heard another came later. Please get involved. The town of Fenwick Island is worth it.

By xxx on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 12:35 pm:

Does anyone besides myself think the council has these meeting when most of the public cannot attend? I for one have a year round job. A Monday meeting at 11:00 does not fit into my day.I aslo do not think the council believes thay have done anything wrong. I for one will not be happy untill Peg, Haon and Griffin are off the council. That day is coming.

By Jim B on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 05:33 pm:

Mr. FI-Landshark should learn how to spell the Mayors last name before he renames the message board. Keep up the good work Mrs. Mayor I know it's a difficult job.
Jim B.

By Sussex Cop on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 08:09 pm:

Hold the horses!

Have Fenwick Islanders missed another shabby shot from their council? It appears so ...

The coucnil has taken on the consultation of MORE state police? Hasn't the current * retired DSP * "consultant turned OIC" done enough internal damage? Now they want to take the advice of ranking officers of an agency that is always in trouble. Bad, bad, bad sitution. The first thing they'll hear is "Hire a retired DSP officer to be your next chief. He'll know how to do the job just 'cause he was a trooper!" Other cops, including troopers, know what I'm talking about. And they know it's a crock.

The BEST thing to do, the RIGHT thing to do, is to hire an independent, professional consultation company that will: review current hiring policies; determine the needs of Fenwick Island in regards to police administration; create selection criteria for the new chief; evaluate applicants for the position; conduct interviews and testing; make a recommendation to Fenwick Islanders for their next Chief of Police.

Before I get bashed for my anti-DSP words, take a look at history and facts. Bringing DSP into Fenwick Island for ANY reason is the worst thing the Greatest Show On Earth can do now. DSP is an agency still tainted with the Good Ol' Boy syndrome while the last of the dinosaurs wait to retire. They are, and always have been, out for THEIR best interests only, not the best interests of others. While most towns are making intelligent moves away from hiring retired DSP troopers in the last few years, Fenwick Island is taking a step backwards.

By gumshoe on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 10:11 am:

I agree with Sussex Cop. Look at the history along the shores of towns hiring former DSP and the problems they've had, including FI's current OIC. It's time for some fresh new law enforcement input and chiefs. FI should use an independent panel or a few Sussex town Police Chiefs, that have a record of good officer retention rates, and who their officers hold in high esteem.

By Harry Sachs on Sunday, March 23, 2003 - 10:48 pm:

I agree with you, I also believe that the new chief should not be from this area, let alone DelMarVa. I think bringing in an outsider with no "ties" to anyone or anything is the way to go. Someone with a truly unbiased opinion combined with the knowledge and experience to bring to the job. Its just an idea of mine...

By gumshoe on Monday, March 24, 2003 - 12:17 am:

I don't believe that it makes a difference whether the chief selected, is from the local area or not. What is most important, is that the chief is a person of integrity, has several years of police experience, a good temperament, and who does the right thing, in spite of the current FI Town Council. It is important that the Chief is accountable to the FI Council for his or her actions, but that the Council keeps out of the day to day running of the FIPD. Once again, it should also not be a former DSP.

By Friend of Fenwick Island on Wednesday, March 26, 2003 - 08:55 am:

I think the town should look in their backyard for a new chief. They hired a new officer this year as a corporal and with over twenty years experience. I have had the pleasure of dealing with this fellow and all I can say is this guy is a keeper and we as a town should do all we can to offer him the top spot.

By former officer brennan on Thursday, March 27, 2003 - 12:15 am:

To Friend of Fenwick: I have nothing personal against the new Corporal, I don't know him and he may be a great guy, but let me bring you up to speed on this subject. The hiring of the Corporal whose salary was $7,000 more than an Officer's salary (including your's truly) was the straw that broke the camel's back for me after the hiring of the O.I.C. and the meddling of the Police Dept. by the Council. He may have 20 years experience, but not in Delaware. I came to Fenwick with 12 years experience in one of the busiest areas of the country. Was that given any consideration to my salary? No. I and at least one other Officer who recently resigned simply refused to "show the ropes" to someone who is supposed to be our boss and is making so much more money than us. What does that do for morale? This is just one of the reasons that it will be difficult or near impossible to hire a local Officer with experience.

By gumshoe on Thursday, March 27, 2003 - 10:45 pm:

I've heard that the current OIC is going to be part of the new chief selection process. Can anyone confirm this? If he is, then why even have a selection committee. Seems as though it's just a waste of time and effort.

By Elsie Weistling on Friday, March 28, 2003 - 12:06 am:

Gumshoe, At the initial meeting of the search committee, it was suggested that the current OIC be the person who could/would do the actual background investigations on the final few candidates prior to being recommended to council for council to interview. That is the only public affirmation I have of his involvement.

By gumshoe on Saturday, March 29, 2003 - 02:46 am:

Elsie, As far as I am concerned, that still gives the current OIC, too much involvement in the process. Could you please tell me the role of the two DSP officers, and who selected them for the process?

By just a local cop on Saturday, March 29, 2003 - 10:00 am:

WOW!!, current O.I.C. Hudson is on the commitee to hire a new Chief, and he'll be doing the background checks? This is the guy who was illegaly appointed and shouldn't even be where he is today. I'll make a couple of predictions: the search for a chief is a sham and after the Town Council claims they can't find a chief, Hudson will stay on and save the day. Another possibility is that the newly hired Corporal will be chosen as Chief, especially if what the former officer states about his salary is true. If so it seems he may have some connection to someone on the Council. Then you have a chief who owes favor to them, not a good situation at all.

By gumshoe on Saturday, March 29, 2003 - 11:48 am:

Once again, I believe that the OIC should not have anything to do with any of the FI Chief's selection process. I believe nothing good will come from that. Look at the OIC's history, between Bethany and FI. After all, the OIC's loss of the police department's control in Bethany, when he was the Town Manager, was not only due to him having too many responsibilities, as it was written in the WAVE. Check with the former good officers, who left Bethany and hear their story. As it was written in another local smaller coast paper, the power struggle for the police department's control was between Hudson and Graviet. When the struggle became more fierce, the town council finally caught on and gave the police control to Graviet. During that time, there was no one looking out for the BBPD Officers. I personally believe Graviet could have done a better job standing up for his officers, but I believe he didn't want to rock the boat and ruin his chances to become the Town Manager one day. What position does Graviet have now?
Secondly, as far as other police input for the panel, local Sussex Police Chiefs with a good reputation and a good officer retention rate, should be used for a law enforcement representation on the panel, not more DSP officers. I wonder if the OIC did the picking of these DSP members to be on the panel? It seems as though the chief selection process will be a sham.
I do, however, believe the citizens on the panel, with the exception of council members, have good intentions of wanting to do the right thing, but I believe they're going to get snowed. As far as the way things are now, I believe that the FIPD is going to continue to have problems for years to come, unless some immediate changes are made to the chief's committee and its selection process.

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