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Federal grant funding community policing in Dover

Delaware Public Media

Federal funds are going to the city of Dover to help with community policing.

Dover City Council gave final approval Monday for a $625,000 federal COPS grant to fund the hire of five new officers in the city’s police department.

This will create Dover’s Community Police Unit—a unit Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen says multiple city police chiefs have tried unsuccessfully to launch in recent years.

He says it will implement a community policing alternative to the modern era of one-shield policing which relies heavily on chasing radio calls.

“It certainly goes back to something that was in place when I was a child,” said Christiansen. “The police officer on the beat in our community knew everyone and their children on the beat, and we knew the police officer and his family. And because of that it elicited a certain trust for people to cooperate with the police when a type of incident occurred in their neighborhood.”        

Christiansen says the federal grant will fund the new positions through five years and then the city will pick up the cost.

He also says the city is also committing to body cameras for its officers.

“And it would be my hope that it could be funded by the State of Delaware,” Christiansen said. “However, if it’s not, the city of Dover will bite the bullet and will put the program into effect as soon as we can fiscally afford to do so.”        

The upcoming Dover police academy in September is adding eight new hires. The five community police officers will be part of the academy starting in March 2021 and expand the Dover Police Department to 106 personnel.

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