Frankford balks at Dagsboro’s police unification pitch

FRANKFORD – Financial cost to the town of Frankford and its residents loomed as a high hurdle in public discussion on a proposed police force unification with the town of Dagsboro.

Frankford is balking at Dagsboro Police Chief Floyd Toomey’s pitch for unification under singular leadership.

Dagsboro Police Chief Floyd Toomey shows the shoulder patches in a proposed unification with the town of Frankford police department under singular leadership. Frankford has decided not to pursue the unification.

Following a lengthy council meeting Monday evening, the town of Frankford announced its decision via the town’s website on Wednesday.

“The council has decided not to pursue the merger of the police department with the town of Dagsboro. This decision was based on resident concerns and budget limitations,” the website announcement reads. “The council will immediately begin the process of evaluating other options to provide the police coverage, including hiring another chief or contracting with the state police. We thank everyone for their past input and look forward to your continued involvement as we move forward on this important decision. Thank you.”

Frankford has been without a police chief since Mark Hudson abruptly resigned from the chief’s position in late July.

Chief Toomey’s proposal was to unite the town’s police departments under one chief, with each department maintaining sovereignty.

Unification, Chief Toomey said, would allow for dual coverage in evenings four days a week with single coverage three evenings. Daytime coverage would be dual five days and single two days, based on 10-hour shifts: 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. .to 5 p.m.

Under the proposal, Dagsboro would have four officers, as it currently does, and Frankford would have two.

Frankford’s financial obligation for the two officers would have been $121,406. That would have covered salaries, insurance and pension through the state pension plan, which would be mandated, Chief Toomey said. This cost does not include general operating expenses such as fuel, maintenance, uniforms, supplies, etc.

Frankford councilman Marty Presley talks about the financial obligation to the town at the town meeting on the possible unification of the Frankford and Dagsboro police departments.

On Sept. 12 at the first of two town hall meetings on the proposal, Frankford councilman/treasurer Marty Presley said the “elephant in the room is the budgetary reason; this means approximately a $215 to $220 per-house property tax increase. And everyone knows from the last couple years how precarious our situation is with Mountaire, with the water plant … other budgetary issues.”

The actual tax increase, some Frankford residents suggested, would actually be more than $220 per household.

At Dagsboro’s Sept. 18 council meeting Chief Toomey said he believed Dagsboro was in favor but sensed Frankford was reluctant.

“I believe our council is in agreement with moving forward with this proposal. The community at large seems to be mostly in favor of moving forward. I would say what appears to be any type of holdup would be the financial end from Frankford,” said Chief Toomey. “I think that is the long and short of it.”

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