Speeding on Long Neck Road and reducing unnecessary noise were among the issues on the minds of residents who joined officers from Delaware State Police Troop 4 in Georgetown this week for a Community Café, casually known as “Coffee with a Cop.”
A public event that offers residents an opportunity to meet and talk to state troopers, the Café was held at Oak Orchard Diner near Millsboro on Friday, Aug. 30, and drew about a dozen residents, one of whom asked, “Can we get somebody to slow these cars down?”
“They drag race down that road. It’s every day. You drive down this road, and you don’t worry about people coming at you. You have to worry about them coming up behind you and hitting you,” a man said, referring to Long Neck Road, prompting nods and murmurs of agreement.
“It isn’t just Oak Orchard,” someone added.
Local residents enjoy walking for exercise on Oak Orchard Road, but if speeders are racing by, they rush to the safety of a nearby cornfield, he added.
Officers said they enforce the speed limit and that education about the importance of obeying it is “definitely on the horizon.”
Police have a good relationship with the Delaware Department of Transportation and will talk to officials there about making improvements, Lt. Tino DiSilvestro said. They will also place a speed-limit trailer in areas where speeding is common, to let drivers see how fast they are going as they approach the trailer.
“We’ll work on this,” another officer promised, saying, “If you’re in Delaware and you’re still driving like you are in Washington, D.C., you’re more noticeable.”
Another resident asked if there is a Sussex County noise ordinance and state Rep. Ruth Briggs King, who attended the event, said there is not, but offenders can be charged with disorderly conduct if noise is above a certain decibel level.
King said she lives near the racetrack in Georgetown and is often disturbed by noise. She receives calls regularly from constituents who complain about trash companies emptying dumpsters before sunrise, and large, loud trucks making deliveries late at night. If neighbors are noisy, police can ask them to quiet down, she said.
“I know you have a lot to do, other than loud music,” one woman told an officer, who said they don’t mind, that they are “the catch-all.”
“I’d rather see you catching crooks, rather than chasing noise,” she said.
The topic turned to arrests for driving under the influence, and those who are arrested and then repeat the behavior.
“It’s a threat to all of us, being killed by a DUI offender, and it’s not the cops’ fault. Look online and you’ll find great ways to beat a DUI in Delaware. There are a lot of great lawyers who get them off. It’s catch-and-release. You’ve got the frequent felon program. I don’t like to drive at night. First of all, the deer, but the deer have more sense. I don’t want to get killed by a DUI,” the man said.
Concern was raised about a rumor that Mount Joy Road is a drug corridor.
“That’s not necessarily true. It’s an unfair assessment. Roadways themselves are corridors, and we work hard to be sure that doesn’t happen,” an officer told her.
“We arrest people all the time. We did have an arrest in the Mount Joy area. Whether it solved your problem, I can’t tell you, but there’s nothing I’m aware of that makes your neighborhood any worse than any other one,” he said.
Replying to someone who asked what to do if they spot cars going up and down their streets in the middle of the night, an officer said it might not signal illegal activity. Generally, when there is drug activity, cars will come and go to a home, but not stay long. If they remain for a long time, they are probably attending a party or playing video games, he said.
“Repetition of coming and going in a very short period of time is typical of drugs. They are in and out. Look at McDonald’s drive-through. McDonald’s makes money because they get people in and out very quickly,” he said.
Community Outreach Officer Rickey Hargis, who helps organize Neighborhood Watch programs and speaks at homeowners’ association meetings, said he welcomes e-mails and phone calls from concerned citizens.
“If I don’t have an answer for you, I will find the answer,” he said. He can be reached by calling (302) 752-3804 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Officers urged residents suspicious of illegal drug activity to call the Delaware Crime Stoppers tip line at 1-800-TIP-3333. They may remain anonymous, he said.
Police receive about 20 tips every week, they said, and often more than one person reports the same thing.
Officers also suggested subscribing to the Delaware State Police website at www.dsp.delaware.gov, by clicking on Newsroom, or following the state police page on Facebook.
By Susan Canfora