Milford Chief of Police Kenneth Brown took over the department in 2015 after the retirement of Chief Keith Hudson. As 2018 begins, Chief Brown discussed what he expects regarding public safety in the upcoming year and reflected on the year that just passed.
“We are still compiling reports of our statistics for last year, but preliminary review suggests that there wasn’t too much change from the previous year,” Chief Brown said. “Once we have exact numbers, a report will be compiled, and it will be released then. The preliminary numbers indicate that there was not a significant increase that I would consider noteworthy.”
Chief Brown said that the department is aware of drug activity in Milford and that they actively pursue those who deal in illegal drugs. He said that the department is constantly investigating and prosecuting drug cases.
“We have personnel assigned specifically to these investigations and they also work with other agencies on them,” Chief Brown said. “Our patrol officers do a great job of finding drugs during traffic stops as well. We make frequent arrests related to drugs and news releases are put out. Anyone who wants to see how we are handling the drug problem can follow us on Facebook, Twitter or on our website, Milfordpolicede.org. We encourage anyone who sees drug activity to call us. Even if nothing can be done about it at that time, this information can be used with other information to work towards a prosecutable case.”
There have been concerns expressed by citizens about illegal activity in downtown parks, especially after dark. Many of those involved are part of the homeless population and Chief Brown said that they are working diligently to reduce the homeless numbers in downtown parks and eliminate illegal activity.
“Our officers make referrals for the homeless to shelters and government agencies for assistance,” Chief Brown said. “We also work with several faith-based organizations to provide assistance for the homeless. We hand out brochures to the homeless that provide them with necessary information to obtain any help they may need. As for alcohol in the parks, we enforce the current laws and ordinances related to park activity. Our officers on foot also patrol the parks and Riverwalk. We have cameras that are monitored at the police station as well that cover the majority of the parks in Milford.”
Since he began leading the department, Chief Brown said that he has placed an emphasis on foot patrols downtown and in City parks. He has not reinstated the bicycle patrols that were previously used downtown because he prefers that officers walk and engage with the public as well as business owners. He said that he encourages officers to do this while on patrol as part of their regular duty whenever possible. He also created a budget line item that pays officers to work extra duty for the purpose of walking downtown since their regular duty does not always allow them to patrol on foot. Chief Brown said that this has been in place for two years and will continue in 2018.
Chief Brown said that since overcrowding continues to be a problem in the current police station, the department has been working with an architect to get estimates on the type, size and cost of a new station. The department recently completed their due diligence testing on property that is being considered for purchase for a new building. In addition, the department has toured and evaluated other new police facilities in the area to gather information and they plan to continue this practice over the next year.
The new Bayhealth Sussex Campus that is being built in southeast Milford will put a strain on the current police department as growth is expected in the surrounding area due not only to the new hospital but the addition of a Nemours children’s hospital on the same grounds. “Not only will it put a strain directly, it will put a strain on us indirectly as well with more housing and businesses moving in around the hospital,” Chief Brown said. “We welcome these challenges and are taking steps to prepare for them.”
Chief Brown said that there are many things that can be done to avoid becoming a victim of a crime in the upcoming year and beyond. He said that one of the most common mistakes is the belief that crime only happens to someone else, so people don’t take steps to protect themselves. “Law breakers watch for simple targets; people that are separated, prone as well to those easy to surprise,” Chief Brown said. “That makes it essential to always be extra mindful. Attempt to avoid locations that are dark, or have barriers that somebody can hid behind. Criminals want to benefit from remote locations where they can surprise a possible sufferer. Simple mistakes I see are not locking your car or home, leaving valuable items in sight of strangers, like in your car and being out alone. Always be aware of your surroundings as not being aware of what is happening around you makes you more vulnerable.”
Chief Brown said that speeding through town is another focus for the department in the upcoming year. The department has recently purchased an automated traffic recorder, which when placed on a particular roadway, will provide them with valuable information concerning traffic on that road. “This will allow us to better utilize our manpower and target areas that need targeting and at the exact times it’s needed,” Chief Brown said. “We presently have permanent radar signs on several streets and are applying for some grants to get more. We use portable radar signs to target certain areas and make violators aware of their speed.”
Chief Brown said the best way for residents to assist the police is to report anything they find suspicious by calling the station at 302-422-8081.
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