One year ago, there were six officers in the South Bethany Police Department. It’s been widely suggested that the Department requires five active officers to provide 24-hour coverage to its citizens, and that number does not seem to be in dispute.
Due to various reasons, the Department now sits at three officers, and South Bethany Town Council recently voted unanimously to reject a proposed candidate to take the fourth position in the Department. Obviously, the Chief was not excited to learn that the candidate was not approved. And, also obviously, council members could not discuss what went in to the decision because it is a personnel matter, and, by law, they can not offer comment on it.
We do not pretend to be able to read minds, but one should be able to look at a unanimous vote and determine that the people elected by the citizens of South Bethany to make these kinds of decisions looked at the information available to them and made an informed choice. Unanimously.
Was it the right call? Again, we can’t even pretend to know. But the elected council decided that way for a reason, and the Chief will go back to work searching for another candidate. Meanwhile, we will continue to report what we can document, or clearly attribute to public officials. The beat will go on.
It’s important that the Town and its police department — and all of its departments, really — have a functional relationship for the sake of South Bethany’s residents and property owners, and we believe that’s where all parties would like to land at the end. No town council member wants to sacrifice public safety, and neither does any police chief, and we do not believe there is any added risk today to the people of the town.
We have to give them all a chance to do their jobs.