Is Something Amiss in the Dewey Beach Police Department?
Dewey Beach’s Police Department is listed as having acquired over $2.85 Million in non-controlled property in the past 3 years alone. In the 2014, 2015, and 2017 inventories, Dewey Beach Police Department obtained over $1.4 Million, $1.1 Million and $134,669.30 in property respectively. A report by an independent investigator indicated that this has been going on for possibly a decade or longer without any oversight or inclusion of the funds in the Town’s budget. To put this into perspective for a small town like Dewey Beach, the Town’s revenue for Fiscal year 2017-2018 is expected to be $2,936,550. The police department already has a dedicated budget of $1,241,772 and yet their operating expenses were over budget by $60,000 in the last fiscal year. Where did all that money go? Does something seem amiss to you?
The Dewey Beach Police Department has been able to acquire surplus military equipment through the Defense Logistics Agency's (DLA) Law Enforcement Support Program (known as the 1033 Program). Examples of Equipment obtained and owned by the Police Department include at least 30 vehicles (including 2 boats, and trailers), 3 Humvees, 2- M998--a general cargo/troop carrier vehicle and 1 M1025--an armored tactical vehicle that is used as an armament carrier and can be fitted with a full range of weapons including machine guns, rifles, and automatic grenade launcher, more than 20 Computers and printers, snowblowers, and cold weather apparel.
The Town currently has no idea how much money has been collected through the sale of this equipment or, in fact, if it has been used for the Town or for other purposes. What happened to the boats? Why does a small town need an armament carrier? A grenade launcher?
Our Town Council must hold persons accountable for any prior or ongoing wrongful actions and reconsider the employment of the Town officials named in the report. The Town officials named in the report have compromised their ability to function with integrity and have put the town in serious potential liability.
We need to demand that Town Council evaluate the Investigator’s report and the documented multiple troubling actions by the Town police, Lifeguard Captain, and Building Inspector, some of which are ongoing. A forensic audit of the police and lifeguards slush funds is a good start.