Frankford installing cameras in park, hiring police officer

The Frankford Town Council made two moves involving ensuring the safety of its residents at its Monday, Sept. 9, meeting.

The council approved a contract for security cameras and lights in Frankford Town Park. The subject of the need for the cameras came up several months ago, with reports from council members and the public of loitering there and drug paraphernalia found.

The contract with Martel Inc., a Dover telecommunications firm, for the project is for $11,802.76. Half of the cost will be covered by an Outdoor Recreation, Parks & Trails Grant from Sussex County, according to Council President Joanne Bacon.

The cameras will be able to be accessed remotely by council members so that any concerning incidents can be responded to. Plans are for the cameras and lights to be in place by mid-November.

Those responses may be quicker in the coming months as Frankford moves forward in its efforts to reinstate its police department, which has been dormant for more than two years, since the resignation of Police Chief Mark Hudson in July 2017. Since that time, the Town has paid for 12 hours of additional patrol coverage each week from the Delaware State Police.

Efforts to combine police departments between Dagsboro and Frankford broke down when Frankford officials said they felt the Town could not afford the estimated $122,000 such a merger would cost the Town annually. That figure only included salaries and benefits for two officers, not operating expenses or uniforms.

There is no money set aside in Frankford’s 2020 operating budget for a police salary, only $12,000 for expenses. The Town is moving forward, however, with hiring an officer. Applications for the position close Sept. 23, with hopes of having an officer on board by the beginning of December.

“Hopefully, we can get our police department back in service in the next couple of months,” Bacon said.

The Town currently has two police cars, but neither is currently operational.

“Somebody needs to help me get these police cars started,” maintenance supervisor Jamie Reed said at the Sept. 9 meeting.

In other business, the Town formally adopted the Sussex County Housing Code. Although the Town currently has its own code, in the future, the County code will supersede the Town’s existing code.

Reed, also the Town’s code-enforcement officer, said the new code will help him in enforcing such things as condemnation notices. He noted at least one house in town where he said he suspects “squatters” are staying illegally.

He also noted that many water meters in the town are practically inaccessible due to grass and other impediments.

“I don’t want to carry a weed-eater with me when I’m reading the meters,” Reed said.

 

By Kerin Magill

Staff Reporter