Sussex County Delaware

F.I. Hires Hudson as
Officer in Charge

Fenwick Island ...

While Officer Kaplan
Resigns from Force

SC Online Content Editor

Fenwick Island Town Council announced the hiring of police department consultant Glenn Hudson as Officer in Charge of its embattled police force at its regular town council meeting on Friday, Nov. 15, 2002.

Meanwhile, Ethan Kaplan, one of three officers hired by the FIPD over the summer, submitted his resignation, effective Nov. 30.

Hudson was hired as a consultant to the department in September, following the suspension of Chief George Dickerson. His initial 45-day contract was extended until Dec. 4 -- the day a hearing is set to determine whether Dickerson will be fired.

Dickerson was suspended after attempting to tape record a meeting with two council members, then reinstated, then suspended again two days later. No reason has been given for the suspension.

Public Safety Commissioner Edward "Buzz" Henifin announced that council hired Hudson for a maximum of six months to act as the department's Officer in Charge.

Hudson, who was a Delaware State Police trooper and then a captain in the Bethany Beach Police Department before becoming Town Manager there, has been hired at the rank of officer, but will have the equivalent of a $35,389 annual salary during the contract period -- designated as up to 180 days.

Hudson takes over a department that had been under Henifin for 11 days after the resignation of Sgt. Michael Bruette.

Bruette resigned on Oct. 24 and council put Henifin in charge of the department on Nov. 4. Henifin said he decided to step aside because he wasn't qualified to guide the department.

When questioned by residents about why Major William Manning -- the second in command to Dickerson -- was bypassed again as Officer in Charge, council members said it had "trust and communication issues" with Manning.

Hudson provided a list of 17 duties he will perform for the department. They include:

  • Making the department "a viable, efficient, small-town police department consisting of a Chief and five patrolmen";

  • Maintain a close "liaison" with the Public Safety Commissioner;

  • Develop a schedule that results in 24-hour, 7-day-a-week police coverage for the town;

  • Maintain discipline in the department;

  • Recommend ways to cut department spending; and

  • Develop a retention and recruitment plan.

While he was still a consultant for the town, Hudson's firearms recertification was paid for by the town. His consultant contract was nullified with the new arrangement, Henifin said.

Hudson walks into a department that has been in turmoil.

On Nov. 12, Kaplan submitted his resignation, citing the financial strain of his commute from Smyrna and concerns over a recent memo that indicated officers could be fired at any time at the will of the Town Council.

In his letter of resignation, Kaplan also said he had not been paid for overtime hours worked and that he had not yet been reimbursed for receipts he submitted for dry cleaning of his uniforms and equipment that he said he paid for himself.

"These are my reasons for leaving Fenwick Island," Kaplan wrote.

The resignation would leave the town with only four officers, but Henifin said the town has not yet accepted Kaplan's resignation and is "talking with him."

Last week, the council terminated the position of administrative assistant to the chief, leaving employee Sherry Jordan without a job after 5 1/2 years with the department.

She said last week she was paid about $10 an hour to help with the department's computers, filing, mail, phones and grant applications.

Sussex County Online will provide more coverage of other issues discussed at the meeting on Monday, Nov. 18.

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