Millville puts police department talk on hold

Millville officials have made it pretty well-known that a top priority for the town in their eyes has been to increase police presence.

With no department of their own, the town has contracted out the Delaware State Police for several years, and have increased the hours covered by that department over recent years. Officials also entered talks with Ocean View officials regarding a possible partnership between the two towns in respect to the Ocean View Police Department. And recently, officials have discussed having a study conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) on the possibility of the town starting its own department from scratch.

In short, Millville officials have been exploring all available options in improving public safety within its borders.

Well, the Millville Town Council “shelved” the idea of having that IACP study done during their meeting Tuesday night. Apparently, the costs associated with the study would have hit about $3,000, and as Councilman John Subity pointed out during that meeting, a town survey a little more than a year ago suggested that police service in the town was something the residents “wanted but weren’t willing to pay higher taxes for.”

That’s an important concept to remember. Residents would like more police coverage in the town, but not if it came with a higher price tag for the citizens. The situation is almost a Catch-22 in that the slumbering economy is forcing towns, businesses and citizens to be more protective of their money, but it is also partially blamed for escalating crime in the community.

Mayor Gerry Hocker offered sound reasoning for the town to wait a bit before proceeding on procuring additional police coverage for Millville at this time. He said that his family’s grocery stores have prosecuted 40 people for shoplifting in the past year or so, and that it used to take 45 minutes to an hour for state police to respond to the call.

“Now, many times, they are sitting in the parking lot before the customer leaves the store — and that is service,” said Hocker.

Ultimately, the council voted Tuesday night to shelve the idea of a police study to a “later date.”

With Hocker’s endorsement of the improved police coverage in the town, residents who don’t want a price tag associated with the town starting its own department and a study that would cost the town $3,000, they made a wise choice.