Frankford PD: Chief Warchol’s current stop in worldly game of life

FRANKFORD – Various chapters in the game of life have taken Frankford Police Chief Mike Warchol to many parts of the world.

“I am a military brat,” said Chief Warchol. “Florida is where is grew up. I was born in Berlin, Germany. I went to junior high school in Hawaii. Then I moved back with my mother and finished up high school, and pretty much finished my growing-up period in a small central Florida town.”

There was a stint with the U.S. Navy.

“I was a radioman in the Navy for four years. When I got out I went back to Florida,” he said.

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Frankford Police Chief Mike Warchol

Some 30 years later he finds himself nearing his first year as chief of police for the town of Frankford, a small Sussex County community on the east side of U.S. 113. He came to Frankford from Ellendale where he was police chief for about three years.

He has spent nearly three decades in law enforcement and investigation.

Chief Warchol is certified in internal affairs investigation and in the state of Florida has certification that basically covers all bases. His training file folder includes “several thousand hours of K-9 training.”

Chief Warchol turned 50 on March 21. He and his wife Elizabeth have two sons; Elliott, who is serving in the U.S. Air Force, and Kenny, who is in the U.S. Navy.

Chief Warchol currently oversees a Frankford Police Department now at 2.5 positions with the addition of fulltime patrolman James Joles, a police academy graduate. Tyler Bare of Dagsboro’s police department works for Frankford’s force part-time.

In this week’s spotlight: Frankford Police Chief Mike Warchol.

You became a prison guard in 1986 but changed you career path?

“I didn’t like being a prison guard. I have all of the respect in the world for prison guards. I just knew that it wasn’t for me. So I took some more schooling and became a police officer. In 1989 I became a police officer with the town of Leesburg, Fla.”

How is it you migrated north?

“My wife works for the federal government. Her job brought us up here. Our plan was for me to get a day-shift job. We spent probably the first 10 years of our relationship where we didn’t see each other a whole lot, because she was a police officer and I was a police officer. Our schedules just didn’t work.”

“My plan was to get into corporate security. I worked for Disney briefly. I was a corporate investigator for Walt Disneyworld. My plan when we moved wherever the federal government was going to move us is that I would get back in corporate. They moved us here – and there is not a whole lot of corporate here.”

Your next chapter?

“I spent my first two years here working for the SPCA. I did cruelty investigations. I decided that I wanted to get back into law enforcement so I went to work for sheriff Christopher very briefly. Then Ellendale started looking for a police chief. I applied and they gave me the job. I worked for Ellendale for three years. And I’ve been here one in year in April.”

You recently experienced one of the rewards of law enforcement?

“The other day, there was this young man; one of the first young men that I arrested here in Frankford. He had a substance abuse issue, and was doing some burglaries. We arrested him and he went through the court process. He was sentenced to stay in jail until he got out of a rehab program. He finished his rehab program about two weeks ago and he showed up here the other day. He gave me a hug and thanked me. He said that I saved his life.”

“Just to see that their interaction with law enforcement led to something positive, that has always been very rewarding for me.”

How about the challenges, frustrations of law enforcement?

“I have noticed over the years that our criminal justice system changes basically cyclically. The outcome of contact with us goes from being very punitive to being, in my opinion, very lax.”

“When I first started as a law enforcement officer my signature and my raising my right hand and swearing to something meant something. Unfortunately, with our current situation – and I think it is social, I don’t think it is political or anything like that – I raise my hand and swear to something to an arrest warrant or something and I would just about have to back it up with a video. I think profession wide that lessens us.

“I agree that there have been recently a lot of very high profile, very bad situations involving law enforcement. But on a whole, the largest number of law enforcement officers that are our there are very good people that are wanting to change and protect your communities. Unfortunately, when these very high-profile cases come out it affects us as a profession as a whole. It’s a shame.”

“As a profession we’ve always put a very high importance on training but I think that the types of training that we give our young officers needs to change. I think we are seeing it is now changing in order to deal more current issues.”

Frankford’s police force aims to COP attention?

“We are seeing that calls for service have risen since I have taken over. We have very little property crimes here. Most of it is just town related. We are here to help the folks in town with just about anything that they need. We pick up dogs that get loose and take them home.”

“I stress that we are very involved in Community Oriented Policing (COP). Our department is only as good as the assistance that we get from our citizens. I am only as good as what I know is going on. My cellphone number is on my business card and I give my business cards to everyone in town. I stress to them if they have an issue, if they have a problem, call me, I don’t care what time of day it is. I may not come out but it will let me know what is going on and if there is something that needs to be addressed at that time, and if I can’t come out, I’ll make sure that someone comes. We work very closely with the state police. They are here when we are not.”

How about Frankford PD’s future?

“I have some goals for the police department. Some of those goals I have already met. We are growing. We are in the process of annexing across the highway. I would like to see the department grow with the town and be able to handle the extra calls that come from the annexation.”

In closing, is there a Mike Warchol “Fun Fact” you’d care to share?

“When I graduated the police academy, the first school I went to – I had to go back to the training academy – and I ran into my high school principal. He grabbed me and dragged me into a classroom and told me I could get arrested for being dressed the way that I was in uniform. He has just amazed that I was a police officer.”

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

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