MOU: County council, state police agree on revised agreement for additional troopers for Sussex

GEORGETOWN – Sussex County has officially joined forces with the state of Delaware and state police on a revised agreement for additional trooper coverage at an increased cost to the county of nearly $700,000.

County council’s five members approved the new memorandum of understanding at council’s July 25 meeting.

Previous MOU’s – the first being approved in 1994 – created the arrangement that Sussex County Council fund half of 44 troopers up to the rank of trooper first class, Sussex County Finance director Gina Jennings said in a brief presentation.

“During this year’s budget process, the state requested that the county pay for the full personnel cost of 22 officers that range from trooper to lieutenant,” said Ms. Jennings. “This arrangement requires a new MOU with Delaware State Police.  This MOU is structured similar to the other three MOU’s. The primary difference is the way the county council funds the additional positions allocated to Sussex County.”

Under the state proposal, Sussex County assumes 100-percent of costs of 22 troopers and pays for: patrol shift differential; “special pays” for troopers with additional duties such as canine or special operations; and overtime for the 22 troopers.

After the county’s 22 supplement, the new arrangement still guarantees Sussex County will be allocated 187 officers.

The additional cost to the county is about $678,000 to retain minimum staffing levels at 187 troopers. The total amount packaged in the county’s fiscal year 2018 budget effective July 1 was approximately $2.9 million.

From left, Capt. Alice Brumbley, Lt. Michael Berry, Capt. Darren Short and Maj. Sean Moriarty of the Delaware State Police sit in county council chambers during council’s action on the new memorandum of understanding.

In the FY17 budget, Sussex County provided $2.2 million for 44 additional troopers assigned in Sussex County.

“On behalf of Col. (Nathan) McQueen and all of the troopers we sincerely thank you, not only for this current version but for all of the sustainable years that you have provided to us the additional troopers,” said Major Sean Moriarty, Delaware State Police Kent/Sussex Operations Officer.

“On behalf of the council and the citizens, thank you. We appreciate all that you do, all of your people do down here to keep us safe,” said county council president Michael Vincent. “You do a great job, I think. We’re very proud to be a part of this operation.”

County councilman Rob Arlett, in referencing 187 trooper allocations, said he would love the opportunity to learn how the state deems proper allocation for troopers throughout the state.

“That is something that I have asked for really two years. And I never have seen or heard the answer to that very question,” said Mr. Arlett, a former honorary trooper commander. “I just want to make sure that we – because it goes I think beyond those in uniform – are getting the proper allocation based on whatever versus it not being political but at a policy. I’d love to see what the policy is at the proper allocation of the troopers for this county. That is just a question I want to put out there again.”

“Certainly, Mr. Arlett’s comment about the 187 that we have talked about many times, we hope to exceed that 187 the best we can. And in good faith we intend to do that,” said Maj. Moriarty. “As far as allocation it’s a really good question to think about as the county continues to grow and as the state continues to grow.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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