Community members push for more funding for Delmar police
DELMAR, Del. – A large concern is circulating in Delmar regarding funding for police. Corporal Keith Heacook was the only officer who was able to respond to a call on Sunday morning which resulted in life-threatening injuries.
Although it’s not uncommon for smaller municipalities to only have one officer on duty, the addition of another officer or even quicker back up was needed in the situation, according to officials. Some even say, the outcome of this fight could have been very different if other officers had been there. “This is what happens when you’re allowed to have single officer shifts, and we should never be in this situation,” says former mayor of Delmar, Maryland and current representative, Carl Anderton.
According to the President of Delaware Fraternal Orders of Police, Jamie Leonard says, ‘The problem with a place like Delmar outside of the fact that they have this kind of two-state leadership, is that their pay is low.” Delmar is unique, as it borders Delaware and Maryland so police officers are qualified to serve in both states. However, according to Leonard, rural towns like Delmar have to strategically place officers since they have more space to cover. “You have to increase the funding somehow, that funding and that trickle down can’t just be used to hire more police, you have to provide a competitive wage to the officers that are already there,” says Leonard.
However, according to the mayor of Delmar, Maryland, it’s not just funding that’s the problem, it’s getting people to apply. In fact, Mayor Karen Wells says usually when they have a vacant spot, they have 15 to 20 applications, right now they only have four. “Quite frankly who would want to be a police officer right now, that’s the hardest thing I think we’re facing,” says Mayor Wells.
Community members, town officials and police officers say the main focus right now, is bringing Corporal Heacook home safe, to be able to recover. Then they can look into how to get more officers and more precautions. “After that I think it’s up to the two mayors Delmar, Maryland Delmar, Delaware to come together and figure out how they’re going to move the department forward,” says Anderton. Mayor Wells adds, “We will have to look into what we can do to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. I mean that’s all there is to it.”
We did reach out to the Chief of police in Delmar who can’t comment on this story specifically but does say, those who are spearheading the efforts to gather more funding for police know what they’re doing.
Community members are sending their thoughts and prayers to both the victim’s and their families.