Millville takes big step with state police

The Town of Millville has proven recently that it is able to back up the talk about providing increased police coverage to their town with action.

Over the past several years, town officials have flirted with the idea of building their own police department from the ground up, and entered discussions with Ocean View officials regarding obtaining police coverage from that town through a financial arrangement. Both of those plans would have indeed improved police presence in the town, but they also would have both come with a significant price tag attached.

The town was paying the Delaware State Police (DSP) to patrol the towns at peak times, and response times for non-emergency calls were not always quick, because troopers were often coming from the barracks in Georgetown if they didn’t happen to be patrolling the town at that time.

And then last week, well, the game changed a little bit in Millville.

Mayor Gerry Hocker announced that the town would be “entering into a mutually beneficial arrangement whereby the Delaware State Police personnel from Troop 4 will utilize space in the Millvillve town hall for a state police community office.”

In this new arrangement, the state police will be using a space of nearly 1,500-square-feet in the upstairs part of the town hall’s new addition as a “satellite office,” according to Hocker. They will be able to use it as a community station, so to speak — a location in town where state police could handle some paperwork and regular police work duties on computers, as well as host members of the community in meetings and educational opportunities.

The cost for Millville? Basically, space in the new addition.

The benefit? More frequent police coverage, in some ways, and faster response times.

“Oftentimes you have complaints, you ride on the complaint and you’re miles away from the troop,” explained Cpl. Bruce Harris of the DSP. “Instead of having to respond back to the troop, we’re going to be able to stop into this facility and conduct police work. I think also, what the preliminary plans are — we also have a community outreach officer who will have crime-watch type meetings, community meetings there, as well as those in the community.”

Make no mistake. This is also a benefit to some of the towns close to Millville. The incident a few weeks ago when an Ocean View police officer was fighting with a man along Route 26 could have turned ugly if other officers hadn’t arrived to assist. Having more police officers close by in case of an emergency helps everybody, even if you have a respected police department in your own town.