What do you call someone who ensures public safety, serves the schools, plays well with others and is a go-to guy for technology questions? In Delaware these days, he’s called Police Chief of the Year, a.k.a. W. Scott Collins of the Selbyville Police Department.
Collins has served the small town since 1992, stepping up to fill the leadership position in 2002. A decade later, on Sept. 23, Collins was honored by the Delaware League of Local Governments, an association of town and county governments established to advocate and assist local governments.
“He’s very deserving of it,” said Selbyville Mayor Clifton Murray. “I think he was one of the youngest chiefs in the state at one time … he worked his way up to this thing. He’s come up through the channels. He’s done a great job.
“It was a shock and an honor … to find out I was even nominated,” said Collins. “I’m in some excellent company when it comes to previous winners of the award.”
Delaware has more than 40 police departments of every size, Collins noted.
“He earned that award,” echoed Bob Dickerson, nominator and town administrator. “He’s a great guy, good for the town, works well with the other parts of the departments. He does a good job, he’s very dedicated. … Quite frankly, I don’t know how he finds time to do it all.”
“I learned a lot from the guys came before me,” said Collins, who began as a Bethany Beach seasonal officer before joining Selbyville. “I was fortunate enough to start at a good time when a lot of the old-school chiefs were around.”
According to the nomination, Collins has “met the challenge of developing a strong police force within the limited resources of a small town.” He implemented a system that reduced overall town costs while retaining experienced police personnel and enhancing their benefits and compensation. He helped place a Selbyville school resource officer within three Indian River district schools.
Keeping up with modern technology in police equipment, Collins also helps Town staff with IT issues. He has also been resourceful in obtaining surplus military equipment and maintaining use of the Selbyville Firing Range for other agencies’ training.
“Certainly, when you have a good group of officers and staff behind you, it makes the rest of us look better,” said Collins, thanking his staff. “From my secretary down to my line staff, these guys keep me in line.”
Of course, law enforcement seems to run in the family. Of Collins’ own father, uncle and brother-in-law, two were chiefs and one a state trooper.
Besides managing the Selbyville PD, Collins is a leader in many police associations. Very near to his heart is Delaware Law Enforcement for Special Olympics, of which he is vice-chairperson.
“Once you go to one Special Olympics event, you’re hooked,” said Collins. “Once they see the uniforms and the police car, they get really excited. … It touches you.”
“It’s a great award. It brings honor to our community, to the police department and especially the police chief,” said Dickerson. “We’re very fortunate and honored that we have a statewide recognized police department the citizens can be proud of.”