Dover PD launches new Community Response Unit

DOVER, Del. – The Dover Police Department launched a brand new Community Response Unit.  Sergeant Mark Hoffman says the goal is to get officers and resources onto the streets of the most under served neighborhoods. “It’s just another tool in the toolbox, if you will,” said Sgt. Hoffman.

Wednesday, officers and a behavioral health care worker went around to meet and greet residents. Sgt. Hoffman says the unit wanted to let the community know they’re there to help if needed. He says the unit hopes to eventually partner with local medical systems to provide more health resources for Dover’s marginalized communities. “It’s going to be a Swiss Army knife. So, it’s going to provide community services such as mental health services, connections to housing and education, job opportunities,” said Sgt. Hoffman.

Sgt. Hoffman says another goal of the unit, is to let the public know that police aren’t just there to make arrests. “We just want to have a positive interaction with our people. That’s the goal any time we put on the uniform and go out on the streets. Obviously there’s an important law enforcement component. It’s what we do. But we also understand that putting somebody in handcuffs and hauling them away isn’t always the best option for every situation,” said Sgt. Hoffman.

The idea for the new unit came from looking at how other police departments were connecting with their communities, according to Sgt. Hoffman. He says one of the police departments they worked with was the Bridgeton Police Department in New Jersey. “We contacted them and got an understanding of what their goals were, and what initiatives they did with their mobile response unit. We kind of took the best pieces of each department that we spoke with and made that the goal for ours,” said Sgt. Hoffman.

Sgt. Hoffman says the unit’s vehicle is actually a repurposed accident reconstruction vehicle. “Technology has progressed and a lot of officers work in smaller vehicles to accomplish the investigative goals of the accidents,” said Sgt. Hoffman.

By putting those community services and connections on wheels, Sgt. Hoffman says Dover’s police officers can be more proactive, and ready to serve their community in the best way possible. “These are services that we’ve always offered. But this mobile unit is going to allow us to take those services on the streets to the places that need them the most, rather than relying on them to come to the police department,” said Sgt. Hoffman.

Categories: Delaware, Local News