Sussex County Delaware

F.I. Council Hires
Hudson as OIC Again
Fenwick Island News

Schedules Workshop for
New Chief for March 10

SC Online Content Editor

Fenwick Island Town Council voted in a special meeting on Saturday, March 1, 2003, to renew its contract with Glenn Hudson as officer in charge of the police department through May 15, or until a new chief is hired.

The council originally hired Hudson as OIC in November but was forced to re-hire him by the Attorney General's office in its response to a FOIA complaint by retired Major William Manning.

Edward "Buzz" Henifin, the town's public safety commissioner, said Hudson has accomplished a great deal with the department since being hired as a consultant in September 2002.

"I believe Mr. Hudson has done a yeoman's service for us as far as running the department," Henifin said.

Henifin pointed to Hudson's hiring of two new officers, as well as making changes in the department's scheduling, its records of officers' activities, and the amount of time officers are patroling the streets of Fenwick Island.

Despite the hirings, the department has also suffered the resignations of three officers under Hudson's command in the past two months. A fourth officer, Ethan Kaplan, also tried to resign.

Resident Chris Clark asked whether Hudson was wearing a Fenwick Island police uniform while working as officer in charge. Henifin replied that Hudson is not in uniform because the town could not justify the expense of a set of uniforms for just a few months.

Clark also asked if Hudson is patrolling the town, and was told that he is. One of the reasons council cited for firing Dickerson was that he allowed Major William Manning to patrol the streets out of uniform.

As for Hudson's future, Henifin said Hudson is not interested in becoming the chief of the department but that he would consider staying on as a consultant after a new chief has been hired. Hudson told Sussex County Online in late February that he would not apply for the chief's position if council decided to fire Chief George H. Dickerson Jr., which it did following the conclusion of the termination hearing for Dickerson on Friday, Feb. 28.

Henifin also announced that council is "looking very seriously" at hiring two officers who previously worked for the Fenwick Island police department. In addition, he said the council is aware of a part-time officer at a neighboring department who may be able to work part-time for Fenwick Island, as well.

Salary increases for the new recruits have been submitted for consideration in the upcoming budget process, Henifin said.

New recruits will be subjected to polygraph tests, Henifin said -- a change in the town's hiring process.

Council also announced that it will hold a workshop meeting at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 10, to discuss how it will proceed with the hiring of a new chief. Among the topics to be discussed will be the search process, the formation of a search committee, and a drafting of a job description and qualities the town is looking for in a new chief.

Resident Wayne Carmean urged the council to include residents on the search committee. "I think it's time the council takes advantage of the expertise of the people in the town," he said.

Clark said after the special meeting that he will work to unify the town and to help the residents and the town council move forward in the coming months. He said he hopes to include mediation to help heal wounds between the town council, the police department and the residents, and to move toward a long-range plan for the town.

"I believe we need to get all the people of this town ... working on this visioning process," Clark said. After the long range plan is completed, he said, he would like to see Fenwick Island hire a town manager to help implement it.

Clark said he also looks to the August town election to bring new voices into the Fenwick Island leadership.

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