Sussex County Delaware

F.I. Hires Two New
Police Officers
 
Fenwick Island News

Officer Accuses OIC of
Sabotaging Job Search

By KERIN MAGILL
SC Online Content Editor

Fenwick Island Town Council announced the hiring of two police officers at its regular meeting on Friday, Jan. 31, 2003.

The hirings will help bring the force back to nearly full strength in the wake of the departure of three of its five officers.

Meanwhile, one of the departing officers, Pete Brennan, is charging that officer in charge Glenn Hudson has attempted to sabotage his job search by bad-mouthing him to other police departments.

Brennan, who resigned from the Fenwick Island police on Jan. 24 to accept an offer from another area police force, wrote a memo to the Fenwick town council on Jan. 26 outlining his accusation.

In the memo, Brennan said he has been told by "very reliable sources" that Hudson "has been making derogatory statements and comments about me in the recent past to high-ranking membrs of other police departments."

Brennan also threatened to sue the town if Hudson continues to do what he is alleging, and if Hudson "makes my last two weeks of work difficult." He said if he feels compelled to sue, he will try to sue Hudson personally so the town's taxpayers don't have to pay the bill. Brennan's last day with the Fenwick police department is Feb. 7.

Sgt. Michael Bruette resigned from the Fenwick Island police Jan. 22; Major William Manning announced his retirement from the force on Jan. 16.

Contacted Monday, Feb. 3, at the Fenwick Island police station, Hudson declined to comment on Brennan's accusations. He said he "knew there was a memo sent," and regarding a signed posting on the Sussex County Online forum for Fenwick Island issues from Brennan, said he had no proof Brennan actually wrote the message.

(Editor's note: Sussex County Online received a copy of the memo from Brennan in person, and verified with him by telephone that he wrote the online posting.)

Hudson said the two new officers should be patroling Fenwick Island streets within six weeks. One is a 25-year veteran of law enforcement; the other has a four-year degree in criminal justice and is working toward his master's degree, Hudson said.

"We are continously recruiting," Hudson said, because the two new officers will only bring the total officers to four -- and the department is authorized for five officers and a chief.

The Attorney General's office has also ruled that the hiring of Hudson must be voted on by council again because council failed to properly vote on the hiring. The ruling requires council to meet within 30 days of Jan. 22 to properly vote to hire Hudson and accept public comment.

The hiring of the two officers did little to pacify residents -- and some council members -- at the Jan. 31 town council meeting.

"I'm very concerned about these two young people leaving Fenwick Island," said resident Bobbi Lednum, referring to Bruette and Brennan.

Lednum went on to ask public safety commissioner Edward "Buzz" Henifin several questions about Hudson's hiring, first as a consultant and then as officer in charge.

Henifin said Hudson was hired because of his career with the Delaware State Police and the Bethany Beach Police Department, as well as his experience as town manager in Bethany Beach.

He also said Hudson was hired on the recommendation of town attorney Tempe Steen.

Lednum also asked for the results of a financial audit of the police department -- done separately from the audits of the town's books for 1999-2002 after it was revealed those audits had not been done.

Henifin said he could not comment on those results because of the investigation by the federal government into charges by Chief George Dickerson that the town misused COPS grants.

However, Thomas Sombar, president of Sombar & Co., the town's auditing firm, said in January that although some "procedural things" found in the course of the police department audit bothered him, "everything seemed to be fine as far as the dollars are concerned."


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