The former chief of the Fenwick Island Police Department has pleaded guilty to official misconduct and falsifying business records.
According to the Delaware Department of Justice, William Boyden was indicted in August after knowingly submitting, between February 2014 and March 2020, false reports to the Delaware Council on Police Training indicating that he had been certified in firearms.
According to a statement from Fenwick Island's current police chief, John Devlin, on Thursday, Sept. 17, questionable documentation had been discovered in May "in the mandatory annual training program as regulated by the State of Delaware, Council on Police Training (COPT).
"FIPD supervisory staff members took immediate action and notified town officials of what appeared to be false entries on official forms," Devlin's statement said.
As a result, Boyden "was immediately placed on administrative leave," the current chief's statement continued, and "appropriate notifications were made to begin a thorough and independent investigation of the facts.
"The matter has since thoroughly been investigated by both the COPT administrative staff and the Office of the Attorney General," Devlin stated. During that time, he said, Boyden "chose to depart from the FIPD."
Boyden was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, one count of official misconduct and one count of falsifying business records, both Class A misdemeanors, according to a statement released Wednesday, Sept. 16, by the Delaware Department of Justice.
For each offense, Boyden was sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for one concurrent year of Level 2 probation, and issued a suspended fine of $100.
Boyden’s probation is dischargeable upon the completion of 100 hours of community service, according to the Department of Justice statement. Boyden accepted responsibility at the first available court hearing, and agreed to no longer work in a law-enforcement capacity.
Devlin's statement on behalf of the department also addressed the Town's response to the resolution of the case.
"The resolved case against (Boyden) is another step toward accountability and transparency as it relates to this regrettable event," he said, adding that the department would defer further comment to the Attorney General's Office.
"To be clear, this was an individual failure and not a reflection of an organizational problem," Devlin said. "The agency made the discovery, reported the issue and actively supported this review," he continued.
Devlin added that, in the wake of the Boyden investigation, the department has implemented "mechanisms of oversight" to prevent similar situations in the future, and that the department will undertake a "comprehensive policy review" to look for other areas where department operations might be improved.
The case was brought by the Department of Justice’s Division of Civil Rights & Public Trust, with the assistance and cooperation of the Town of Fenwick Island. Devlin was sworn in as Fenwick Island's new police chief on Sept. 1.