Policing in Frankford cops council meeting attention

FRANKFORD — Policing in the town of Frankford continues to cop attention.

Police Chief Michael Warchol aims to take a bite out of crime through social media and clamp down on speeders with a radar trailer.

In a presentation at the Jan. 4 town council meeting punctuated by citizen complaints about police coverage and visible presence, Chief Warchol plans to set up a police department Facebook page.

“It was one of the things I had been planning on doing and finally getting to the point where I am able to do it, time management wise,” he said.

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Frankford Police Chief Michael Warchol addresses the audience at the Jan. 4 town council meeting.

In addition to letting residents know what the police department is doing, Chief Warchol envisions social media could be additional eyes and ears within the community to assist the department, currently comprised of Chief Warchol, who was hired in late April, and Tyler Bare, who works on a part-time basis.

“Anyone in town that hears of anything, sees something and are unable to get in touch with me, put it on there,” Chief Warchol said. “We’ll use it as kind of our Crime Watch for the town. It is only going to be as good as the help that I get from everyone in town … it will give me another avenue of communication with the town.”

Once operational, the Facebook page will be linked to the town’s revamped website – www.frankford.delaware.gov/.

The radar trailer was obtained free through the law enforcement surplus program through the federal government.

“Actually, it is military surplus. It is not going to do the traffic surveys that we need but once we get it up and running and looking a little prettier it will give us something to put out there to show people how fast they are going,” said Chief Warchol. “That will slow the honest ones down, but it is not going to slow the chronic speeders down.”

Another fulltime officer has not yet completed training.

Upon completion of the academy portion of the training, the new officer will be riding for eight weeks with the chief. “Then he’ll be on his own. Then I will have someone out here nights and weekends,” said Chief Warchol. “Using grant money we are getting, hopefully we keep the part-time guy too to give us just that much more coverage.”

Lock your doors!

In light of recent thefts from cars, Chief Warchol encouraged residents to make sure all doors to their vehicles are locked.

“I can’t impress enough: lock your cars. We kind of have an idea who is doing it now. I am in the process of trying to get the evidence together to make some charges,” Chief Warchol said.

Coffee With a Cop

Chief Warchol plans to institute Coffee With a Cop, a casual way for residents to share concerns or ideas.

It will probably be held quarterly, most likely at the Frankford Diner, and is open to anyone.

“Have some coffee with me and let me know what your issues are. I’ll do whatever I can to fix them, if I can’t fix them I will tell you. I want that open communication with everyone in town and the folks that are outside of town,” said Chief Warchol. “I have the ability to go a mile outside of town, per Delaware law to investigate crime. A lot of crime that happens here goes elsewhere, and a lot of crime that is happening out there is coming into town. I’m very cautious in using that mile because I was hired by the town to enforce and protect the town. But if something is affecting the town that is happening outside and I am able to do something about it, I will.”

Complaints

Residents voiced concerns about recent gunshots, and what some coined lack of police presence in certain parts of the small town and adjoining area.

“I am not saying you don’t drive by …but I’m not seeing you,” said Russell Davenport, who resides on Delaware Avenue, an unincorporated area on the southern side, outside town limits. “We’ve only got 16 streets, sir. If you drive down them 16 streets constantly instead of sitting in one place for half a day we would see you.”

“I don’t sit in one place,” Chief Warchol replied.

“I am not really worried about how many tickets you write. My property is important to me,” Mr. Davenport said.

“I am riding through this town, all day, every day,” Chief Warchol said. “My 30 years of experience has shown me how to patrol a town.”

“I haven’t seen you since I have been home,” said Mr. Davenport.

“There are reasons I sit where I sit … stop signs, and speeders, I run tags,” the chief said.

Town councilman Marty Presley noted that in the chief’s 40 hour week, there is overhead and administrative matters that take away patrol time.

“Keep in mind until the town makes a decision that we can afford two or three fulltime police officers you are not always going to see the police guy in front of your house,” Mr. Presley said. “The law of numbers doesn’t work out that way.”

Delaware State Police provide coverage when there is no town officer on duty.

One resident said it took state police 22 minutes to respond to a call.

“I can’t speak to their response time,” Chief Warchol said. “They are short-staffed. Their main thing is in the unincorporated areas. They have to prioritize their calls …”

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

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