New police facility opens to public

Terry RogersGovernment, Headlines, Milford Headline Story, Police & Fire

The City of Milford held a ribbon cutting for their new police facility

With a crowd of local, state and national dignitaries in attendance, the City of Milford held a ribbon cutting for their new police facility. The building, which was constructed for around $17 million, under the $20 million approved by a referendum in 2021, not only includes space for the officers, but also community areas such as conference rooms.

“The need for this facility was first realized by Chief Hudson during his tenure as police chief. At that time, the project did not gain traction and it was put on hold. When Chief Kenny Brown was hired as Chief Hudson’s successor in 2016, he realized the need for a new police facility was even greater than before,” Sgt. Tim Maloney, Public Relations Officer for Milford Police Department, said. “Chief Brown began to work closely with Milford city council and community leaders to earn the support of the Milford community for a new police facility. This led to a city referendum on January 26, 2021, where the citizens voted in favor of a referendum to proceed with the building of this new police facility. On July 27, 2022, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on the property to begin this building project. And now, 18 months later, we are here for the grand opening of this state of the art police facility.”

Chief Cecilia Ashe speaks to the crowd gathered for the ribbon cutting

After an invocation by the Milford Police Department Chaplain, Jerry Howard, the presentation of colors by the department and the national anthem sung by Adrianna Casselle of the Music School of Delaware, Chief Cecilia Ashe thanked those who were in attendance.

“I’d like to welcome first the mayor and vice mayor, as well as the honorable council here today along with many, many distinguished guests. It warms my heart and that’s probably the only part of me that’s warm right now, to see the turnout and support that we have here today for the opening of this building,” Chief Ashe said. “Often people ask me, what are the issues and how can we help in today’s society? We have officers who often struggle coming to work, feeling the support and the love of their community. The challenges that they face every single day, do not go unrecognized by this community. This building is an absolute reflection of the love and support that these women and men feel every day when they come to work.”

Chief Ashe continued.

“I look out on this crowd, and I see this amazing building. This is what these officers are going to come to, this is their new home. This community is an example for other communities and how they should also support their local law enforcement,” Chief Ashe said. “Often, I’m asked how do you address the recruitment crisis that you face in today’s society, that faces this country, that faces this state? This leadership administration here to my left, we choose to lead by example. And we choose to start with the four walls of our building. And what an amazing four walls we can ask for.”

Hundreds gathered to celebrate the opening of the new police facility

Chief Ashe explained that the goal of every police chief was that the officers come to work and feel supported, something that the officers of Milford have been provided. She stated that it was a an amazing feeling as a Chief of Police to look out at the men and women who help her lead the department. She was thankful that these officers now have a building that will give them a smile.

“When we look inside the four walls of our building, it’s about focusing on the officers. It’s about focusing on their morale and their well-being. It was one of the things I said from the beginning, that we will always put our officers first. Why? Because when we put our officers first, when we treat them with compassion, when we treat them with support, we treat them with empathy, they, in turn, will go out into community and do the same,” Chief Ashe said. “To the officers of this organization. I couldn’t be more proud of you. I look at them, and they make my job easy. Why? Because they lead this agency every single day and their families. And we cannot forget the families that risk these officers being away on holidays at baseball games, missing graduations, to ensure that these streets, that this city is safe, and they do that with pride.”

One of the things that the officers of Milford show each day, according to Chief Ashe is that they were the definition of nobility in policing.

“I thank the city council and the mayor and I thank this community for its leadership, its love and its support that we feel every single day and that we will put our officers health and wellness first in this organization,” Chief Ashe said. “And we’ll see that later when you tour this building, you will see a beautiful gym, and on a personal note, the businesses in this community have come in with great support. Planet Fitness, donating equipment to the gym. It’s not just the chief putting the officers first. It’s the community putting these officers first, it is businesses putting these officers first. So, I thank you, I appreciate you and I know each and every one of the officers. I speak on their behalf. Thank you for bringing a smile and thank you for bringing us home.”

Mayor Archie Campbell and Vice-Mayor Jason James before the ceremony

Following Chief Ashe, Vice-Mayor and Fourth Ward Councilman Jason James recognized the many dignitaries in attendance, especially Chief Keith Hudson for his tenacity in keeping the discussion in the forefront and passing that goal down to his replacement. Councilman James also thanked former Chief Kenny Brown for being diligent and sticking with the push to build a new station.

“With this great city, this new building goes a long way in making that happen. Everyone wants to live in a city where they feel safe, they can come, and they can enjoy themselves free of being inundated by crime, free of speeders up and down the road. Our police department makes sure that the citizens not only are safe, but they feel safe. They are present in the community. They have a face that they can put with their public safety. And we’ve been growing, people are talking about Milford. No matter how great the police department is performing, the growth that has taken place, none of that happens without people knowing that they can come and be free of crime in their community,” Councilman James continued. “And I do want to acknowledge the citizens of the city of Milford. When this referendum for this building came before you, I think the referendum passed but a 66% of the vote. I think that’s close. That’s an overwhelming percent. We knew from our strategic plan that safety and the police presence is one of the biggest issues of the greatest concerns of our citizens. And I think we’ve done well in listening to them and addressing their concerns and to make Milford a great place to live and a great place to do business.”

Mayor Archie Campbell followed Councilman James, mentioning that it made him proud to see all the chiefs he had dealt with over the years in attendance.

Mayor Campbell embraces Chief Ashe after the ceremony

“The old police facility was built in 1979 and housed 18 officers. At the time, the population in Milford was about 5,400 people. It no longer meets accreditation standards. Today, we have 37 officers, and our population is reaching 12,000.,” Mayor Campbell said. “The new building is over 24,000 square feet. The goals have been a building that will provide a safer environment for police and a hub for community policing and engagement. Our third goal is to reach national standards. And think of the future where it is predicted that by 2026, Milford will have over 18,000 people. That’s a great accomplishment for Milford. We are the growing town in the State of Delaware confirmed by the governor, by the way. And I say to everyone, especially council members, department heads and I like to thank Chief Hudson for his vision of push to get this done.”

After the tour, guests were invited to take guided tours of the new facility. Public open houses will be held on Wednesday, December 13 from 1 to 5 PM and Thursday, December 14 from 4 to 8 PM. Operations will begin at the new location on Monday, December 18.







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