PREVIOUSLY REPORTED In mid-December, then Smyrna Police Chief Wil Bordley announced his retirement from the Smyrna Police Department in favor of taking a teaching position at the Georgetown campus of Delaware Technical & Community College.
Bordley said at the time, it was hard to move on after spending over 20 years in the Smyrna Police Department; however, his dream of teaching would be coming true.
“I’m 46 [years old] and I’ve been here almost 24 years so for more than half of my life I’ve been a police officer here in Smyrna. Anytime you put so much into a career and into the town it’s sad,” Bordley said. “Believe it or not, even though I’m leaving for a good position and the right reason it’s still upsetting in a way to leave. It’s not as easy as people think.”
A few weeks later, Smyrna Town Council approved Lt. Norman Wood as the interim chief at the Jan. 6 council meeting. The decision to temporarily promote Wood was made based on the town charter, which states an interim chief is chosen based on seniority.
“I’ve worked closely with Bordley and former chief Richard Baldwin. I know what needs to be done. I’ve sat here at council meetings before representing the chief in the past,” Wood said after the meeting. “We just need to move forward and keep providing police service to the Town of Smyrna’s residents and visitors.”
At that time, Smyrna Mayor Joanne Masten said it would take two to three months to find a permanent replacement for police chief.
WHAT’S NEW The Town of Smyrna is still in the process of receiving applications. Vice Mayor Regina Brown said at Monday’s council meeting that 38 applications have been received, but only 10 of them are complete packages. The deadline to submit a completed application and resume is Friday, March 21.
Council amended the qualifications for police chief via a resolution at the Feb. 18 council meeting.
Earlier in the day Monday, Mayor Joanne Masten said the council worked with the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council to better determine the qualifications for police chief.
“Anytime there’s a new organization, or in this case a new council, you need to determine the proper qualifications for police chief,” Masten said. “We decided to work with the Police Chiefs’ Council to best determine what the required qualifications should be.”
Prior to the amendment, Masten said the qualifications mandated a candidate have a four-year degree as well as attendance at the FBI Academy or other similar institutes. The new qualifications don’t mandate the bachelor’s degree but state it’s desirable. Masten said while some education is needed, one’s experience is just as important. Masten said the candidates should have good leadership skills, and have a high moral and ethical code.
With the change in the requirements, Masten said she can think of at least three current police officers in the department that are qualified for police chief. Candidates for the police chief have applied from as far away as New Mexico and Arizona.
Masten said so far, Interim Police Chief Norman Wood has done very well.
“He’s doing an excellent job. I tell him almost on a daily basis he’s doing an excellent job,” Masten said.
WHAT’S NEXT Once the applications are in, Masten said the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council will review the applications and determine the best three candidates. Council will interview the candidates and make a selection. Masten believes council should make a decision by the end of April or the beginning of May. She said there will be different variables that will determine when a new police chief can start such as whether or not they are in-state, or an active officer versus a retired officer.
Masten said she is cautiously optimistic.
“We only have one chance to do the right thing for the citizens of Smyrna,” Masten said. “Council wants to make sure we make the right decision whether it’s intern