Fenwick Island’s new police chief, John Devlin, is trying ahead… to trying ahead.
Now in his second month within the high place within the Fenwick Island Police Division, Devlin is settling into the job, having been appearing chief since simply after Delaware plunged into the COVID-19 pandemic final spring.
Along with working his six-person division underneath the “new regular” of a well being disaster, Devlin additionally discovered himself in the course of an investigation into his predecessor, William Boyden, who in the end pleaded responsible to falsifying his firearms certifications data.
Devlin, 58, mentioned in a current interview that it fell to him to show in his former boss.
“You didn’t have any alternative. Had we not come ahead,” he mentioned, “we’d have been in a variety of bother.”
He mentioned that, whereas he believed that Boyden “was an excellent chief for a very long time,” he additionally felt compelled to work with state officers on the investigation, which wrapped up with a grand jury indictment in August.
“There are proper methods of doing issues and there are mistaken methods,” Devlin mentioned.
Now, a few months into his tenure as chief, he mentioned he’s pleased to be doing “on a regular basis police work” within the division through which he has spent the higher a part of the previous 20 years.
“I’ve bought it made,” he mentioned. “We’ve bought an incredible group. We will do something.”
Having labored in Fenwick Island for therefore lengthy, Devlin mentioned, “If I’ve an issue, I do know who to contact. It’s only a matter of constructing a telephone name or taking pictures an e mail.”
He pointed to the current unsanctioned “H2Oi” gatherings in Ocean Metropolis, Md., for example of conditions in neighboring cities having the potential to influence Fenwick Island. Ocean Metropolis and Maryland state officers have moved to strictly regulate habits in the course of the unofficial occasions after quite a few incidents of harmful driving, and unruly and damaging habits.
“If it occurred proper there, it might again up and occur right here,” he mentioned.
Though Fenwick Island selected to not enter right into a mutual help settlement with Ocean View and South Bethany earlier this 12 months, Devlin mentioned his division has all the time labored with neighboring police departments and can proceed to take action.
The settlement would have had Fenwick officers primarily sworn in as officers within the neighboring departments, along with the prevailing mutual help protocols between neighboring departments, with a purpose to facilitate police protection and response.
Devlin mentioned he’ll quickly start a collection of coaching packages for his division, together with “normal” coaching, in addition to different particular coaching, equivalent to a “de-escalation” program he mentioned he feels might be helpful in a time when interactions between police and the general public are underneath a microscope.
He added that he’s very comfy with the extent of expertise on his division, “so that you don’t actually have a problem with that,” he mentioned, referring to interactions with the general public changing into intense.
Devlin mentioned he plans to quickly start a means of updating the division’s normal working procedures.
“It’s a transferring animal,” he mentioned. “It must be modified with the instances.”
He mentioned he plans to work towards extra open communications with residents and enterprise house owners just by letting it’s recognized that he has a “open-door” coverage and can gladly hearken to considerations from residents.
The scenario with Boyden, Devlin mentioned, was “actually a lesson in transparency,” which was tough on the time as a result of he was appearing chief, and since he was not at liberty to debate the case whereas the investigation was ongoing.
“There’s a variety of work that must be caught up,” he mentioned.
By way of communications with the Fenwick Island neighborhood, one of many first issues he did as appearing chief was begin a Fb web page for the police division.
With 668 followers as of this week, the web page features a video displaying the city’s new crosswalk indicators, updates on storms affecting the coastal city, and data on the police division’s group participation in a digital run benefiting Particular Olympics.
“The interplay to this point has been nice,” Devlin mentioned of the Fb web page.
He’s additionally starting to improve the division’s gear, beginning with new bullet-resistant vests for all officers. As well as, the division has changed two cameras on patrol automobiles and has bought 4 physique cameras. Devlin mentioned he plans to finish these upgrades department-wide “by the tip of the following grant cycle.”
His objective, Devlin mentioned, is to additionally start changing patrol automobiles, which he mentioned “are in superb form” as a result of common upkeep inside the division however ought to start to get replaced inside the subsequent 12 months.
Devlin mentioned he’s trying ahead to working together with his officers and with the neighborhood to construct up communication, which he mentioned has taken a success nationwide in current months, not simply in Fenwick Island.
“You might be your neighborhood, and should you’re not speaking to the neighborhood, that’s when you might have issues,” he mentioned.
“That’s a part of the issue with what’s happening with society,” Devlin mentioned. “Individuals aren’t speaking to one another.”