Millsboro Police Chief Brian Calloway at the town council meeting on Monday, Aug. 5, introduced Vonshae Wise, the department’s new victim service specialist. He told council members she had completed training at the Georgetown Police Department and at Delaware State Police Troop 4 since being hired last month.
“She does not just reach out to victims of violent or serious crimes — she reaches out to victims of every crime,” the chief said, explaining that Wise doesn’t investigate but instead finds resources to make sure victims’ rights are satisfied.
“She certainly has been that piece to our puzzle that we missed for a lot of years,” he said, as a smiling Wise shook hands with each council member.
“The application process was quite extensive. Certainly Vonshae did an excellent job of impressing me. I remember her on her first interview, all the way to the final interview. … She’s been a great asset,” Calloway said,
Formerly a community navigator for the Worcester County (Md.) Commission on Aging, Wise created healthful living programs for senior citizens there, then took over the Community for Life Project.
Calloway said Wise was selected from among 35 applicants from Maryland and Delaware, and will be paid $40,000 annually, funded by a federal grant from the Delaware Criminal Justice Council. The position, posted on May 7, was funded for two years.
“She will follow up on every crime, from a damaged mailbox to serious crimes. She will follow up with every victim, offering services and making sure they have reports,” Calloway said.
“If there is a follow-up for information, she’ll find that out. If a person needs to give more information to reporting officers, she will be sure the officer gets in touch with the victim. I have wanted this position for a long time,” the chief said.
After being hired last month, Wise told the Coastal Point she was attracted to the position because she is interested in the policing profession.
“I thought I wanted to be a police officer. I have a degree in public relations. I’m more of a heartfelt, compassionate — more on that end — than working with criminal justice,” she said.
After graduating from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., Wise returned to Millsboro, where her family lives.
“My heart is in Delaware — specifically Millsboro. I love this town. I was born and raised here. I went to school here in Georgetown, at Sussex Central High School,” she said.
The council on Aug. 5 also congratulated two Millsboro police officers who assisted Delaware State Police at a call for an unresponsive resident.
According to Calloway, when Pfc. Liana Dodson, who has been with the department three years, and Cpl. Seth Bullock, a seven-year veteran, arrived at the scene on July 4, Bullock administered a cardiac shock and Dodson started CPR.
Calloway said he had received an e-mail from a grateful Delaware State Police sergeant, praising the officers for their quick actions. When the officers arrived, they found the citizen unconscious, and they stabilized the victim until paramedics arrived, he said.
Calloway thanked the council, saying the equipment the officers used was provided by grant money. Each officer was presented with a Life Saving Award.
Dodd Street will not be permanently closed
The council on Aug. 5 also determined that Dodd Street downtown will not be permanently closed, as considered. A committee had been formed to study closing the street, northwest of Main Street, once the new town hall is built downtown. However, committee members decided to leave it open as a one-way street after receiving a letter from the fire chief and reviewing traffic statistics from the Delaware Department of Transportation.
The fire chief asked that it not be closed because it is needed to get equipment to the east side.
A traffic study, conducted July 2 to 9 by Police Chief Brian Calloway, in conjunction with DelDOT, determined that about 7,300 cars traveled on Dodd Street from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. School buses also use it.
It will be open eastbound off Washington Street, but closed heading across Main Street.
Dog park planned, bicycle plan in progress
The council also received an update from Assistant Town Manager Jamie Burk about plans to build a dog park near the intersection of Route 20 and Sheep Pen Road.
The plan is to create areas for large and small dogs, enclosed with a chain-link fence, and eventually to expand it. The Town has $100,000 budgeted for the park, which could open next year.
Burk also reported that there is still room on the committee working on a proposed “bicycle master plan,” for those interested in participating.
Councilman James Kells asked if the bike plan was incorporated into the Town’s comprehensive plan, and Burk said it was.
Burk said the Town will apply for grants, but they have to be grants for town-owned roads, not state-owned roads.
“With grants, there are so many strings attached,” Town Manager Sheldon Hudson said.
Historical marker to honor Nanticoke tribe
Council members also voiced their support on Aug. 5 for placing a historical marker at Cupola Park to honor the Nanticoke Indian tribe.
A ceremony, attended by dignitaries, will be planned for Columbus Day, also known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, in October.
Hudson directed council members’ attention to a photo of Nanticoke Chief Natosha Norwood Carmine standing in Cupola Park, where the marker will be. Hudson explained that it will be placed in the inverted triangle where the road splits.
The marker can withstand water, in case of flooding, he said.
“We thought about it for a long time and, in conjunction with the Town of Millsboro, we thought there are historical things about us in and around town that people should know,” Sterling Street, Nanticoke Indian Museum coordinator, told the Coastal Point this week.
“It’s nice to see the additional recognition,” Hudson said during the council meeting.
“It’s very nice,” Mayor Michelle Truitt added.
Finally, while council meetings are usually on the first Monday of each month, the September meeting will be on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m., due to the Labor Day holiday.
By Susan Canfora