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Lewes commissions police staffing study

Roman Battaglia
Delaware Public Media

The city of Lewes approved a study to look at the performance of the city’s police force.

City officials seek to take a deep dive into how well the Lewes Police are doing their jobs.

The Lewes City Council is hiring the Center for Public Safety Management, an outside research firm, to look at ways the city can improve police effectiveness and see if staffing levels are appropriate.

CPSM’s Tom Wieczorek says Lewes faces challenges other departments around the country don’t.

“Probably one of the biggest challenges you face is being a coastal community, your population swells considerably in the summer and how do you deal with that and the policing challenges,” Wieczorek says.

City manager Ann Marie Townshend says the force has seen staff changes, and identifying possible improvements will help the city.

Townshend says getting an outside perspective is helpful.

“So they can look at our department and look at the staffing, look at the national norms and determine if our staffing level needs to be changed, if our staffing structure needs to be changed,” she says.

The city recently got the results of its own Police Review committee formed in 2019 and its report recommended a staffing level study.

But Townshend says this outside firm’s experience dealing with police departments all over the country is needed to assess the city’s policing and how it compares to other departments.

The Lewes chief of police also requested this kind of study.

The survey is expected to take four to five months, and will start in the new year.

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.