Dagsboro offer for school resource officer rejected by IRSD

At the monthly town council meeting on July 17, Dagsboro Police Chief Floyd Toomey reported to the council on his presentation to the Indian River School District regarding the role of school resource officer.

Dagsboro had asked Toomey to approach the district regarding the Town taking over the position of school resource officer for Indian River High School and John M. Clayton Elementary, via contract service through the Dagsboro Police Department.

Toomey said the cost for an officer to serve the school three-quarters of a year would be $39,750, which would give the district a cost savings of $33,250. Currently, the district employs a Delaware State Police employee to fill the position.

Toomey said he reviewed calls to the school from Jan. 1, 2014, to April 30, 2014, and found there were a total of 244 complaints on IRHS property. Accounting for duplicates and assists, there was an actual total of 212 complaints over the 40-month time period.

Toomey said five agencies responded to the 212 complaints — Ocean View once; Selbyville twice; Frankford five; Dagsboro 94; and Delaware State Police 142. Of nine collisions that occurred on school property, Dagsboro PD investigated eight of them.

“They are currently getting $72,000 to service that school, and we’re there two-thirds of the time.”

Toomey said the officer would be dedicated to the school fulltime.

Toomey gave a presentation at the district’s board of education meeting on June 19; however, he said there was no public discussion on the matter, though the board did go into executive session. Toomey reported that he later received a letter from Superintendent Mark Steele declining the offer, stating the school already has an officer in that position.

“That’s very disappointing — especially because they’d be saving quite a bit of money,” said Councilman Norwood Truitt, adding it was “almost insulting.”

“I guess they’re so flush with money they don’t need to worry about that,” added Councilman William Chandler, who also questioned why there was no public discussion on the matter.

The council agreed that if they were to broach the subject again with the district, it would have to come directly from them. They agreed to have Chandler draft a letter of response to the district, to be signed by council.

The council also discussed the chlorine levels in the water supply being low.

“It went from .23 on Saturday to .04,” said Town Administrator Cindy Brought, who noted that when she called the Town of Millsboro, they had said Dagsboro is responsible for the levels. “They claim it’s the chlorine evaporating in the tower because it sits there.”

Kyle Gulbronson of AECOM said that, instead of going through the expense of possibly installing a chlorine injector, the Town could first do some testing to try to pinpoint the problem.

The Town had opened all the fire hydrants and the end of the line and let them run, which improved the numbers for a week.

“The biggest concern is we do state testing once a month, and Artesian the last two times came out to .02. The water temperature at that point was 86; he got it down to 80. That’s when your bacteria grows,” said Brought. “That’s the concern.”

The council agreed to have Gulbronson work up a draft of what testing they would like to do and the cost.

“I don’t want any grass to grow under this. I want us to get on this right now,” said Chandler.

The council also discussed a water interconnection agreement drafted in 2005 but never implemented that would be with the towns of Millsboro and Frankford.

Although it was never signed, the draft was followed when the interconnection line was opened on an emergency basis in May, for a fire at the Bunting & Bertrand Poultry Equipment warehouse in Frankford.

Following the fire, the Town of Frankford had asked Millsboro and Dagsboro to review the draft agreement.

Brought added that the Frankford Town Council had dropped off a $1,000 check that covered the water cost from that incident.

Chandler said he believed the draft agreement would need to be rewritten, as there is no mention of compensation for water used. Councilwoman Theresa Ulrich recommended that, instead of having water meters installed to determine usage, the towns could save money but using an estimate of water used, as was done with the May fire.

Town Solicitor Robert Witsil said the draft agreement did not have the “flavor of an emergency document.”

The council said they would review the document and advise Witsil as to whether or not he should alter the draft or instead draft a memorandum of understanding.