Grants help fund Selbyville police force

Though organizations throughout the country may be feeling the affects of the slumping economy, the Selbyville police department is getting by just fine. Several grants have been approved for the Selbyville police force and one is still pending, explained Chief Scott Collins earlier this week at the town’s council meeting.

The Selbyville Police Department was one of nine in the state and one of the three in Sussex County to be approved for the COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP), which focuses on reestablishing employment to departments for officers. “We’re thrilled to get this grant,” said Collins. “It’s aimed at small departments, and nationally, it offers the hiring of new officers or rehiring of officers who were scheduled to be laid-off due to the budget cuts.” Over 7,000 departments applied nation-wide, but only approximately 1,500 were awarded the grant.

The hiring grant will provide $152,500 to the Selbyville department, which includes 100 percent funding for approved entry-level salaries and benefits for three years for newly-hired, full-time officers.

“It basically includes everything but the uniform,” Collins added. “This will definitely help our department out a lot. The number of officers has stayed the same for approximately six or seven years, but the town continues to grow.”

With another officer on duty, the police force will be able to keep up with the town’s demand.

“Looking back at the yearly report in the past 10 years, the number of complaints we are getting has doubled and our arrests have increased,” he added. “We have a good, controlled, slow growth within the community, and keeping within our budget restrain, it hurt our plan to add an additional officer.”

The application process is expected to take a few months, but could begin as early as October. Georgetown and Dewey Beach police departments were the other two Sussex County branches that received extra funding from the CHRP grant. Overall, Delaware was awarded $5 million, statewide.

In addition to this grant, Selbyville’s law enforcement was also approved for funding through the Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program, which aims at upgrading the station’s technology at the office and in the patrol cars. Funds include updating computer software and can also be used to cover electronic equipment like fingerprint analysis machines.

“This is all money that we recoup,” Collins noted. “It was all cut from the budget by the state.” A county grant is also helping the station maintain its services.

“These grants really help us out a lot,” said Collins. “With top equipment and personnel, we can better serve the community.”