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Dewey Beach to add three additional police officers

Delaware Public Media

Dewey Beach Town Council approves a request from its police department to add three full-time officers.

Council approved the request by a 4-0 vote in a special meeting Friday with Town Commissioner Gary Parsinger abstaining.

Parsinger, while noting the need for the officers, is concerned about the beach town being able to afford the positions.

"I support the police chief in what she wants to do. I'm certainly not going to with my complete lack of experience in policing I'm certainly not going to question the staffing plan that she has developed based on the wealth of experience that she has, but again I don't think we've done enough financial analysis on the cost of this plan and I'm really hesitant to vote on it."

Dewey Beach Mayor Bill Stevens says the officers need to be hired, and the budget needs to be looked at closely to make sure it’s balanced.

Town Commissioner Paul Bauer – who voted for the new officers – says the safety overrides any financial concerns.

"We'll figure out the money aspect of it, but we just have to cover this expense. We're going at it a little bit blind, I get it. It's not going to be perfect. In a perfect world you know exactly what's going to happen over the next 6 months, but I sleep better at night knowing we have more police officers."

Town Manager Bill Zolper says the new officers will provide advantages.

"When you have an officer here that's wearing the uniform and the patch of Dewey Beach Police Department you're going to see better service than you do with some of the other officers that come in that are from other departments."

Police Chief Constance Speake requested the new officers saying they would greatly increase the department’s capabilities, increase officer safety, and provide cover for illness or injury.

Speake adds the new officers would also lessen the need for officers brought in from outside agencies on summer.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.