Smyrna Police Lt. Norman Wood will no longer serve the town as police chief on an interim basis as Smyrna Town Council voted Friday in a special meeting to name Wood the chief of police at the Smyrna Police Department.
The unanimous approval paved the way for Wood’s dream to come as being police chief has been a goal of his since he first began his career at Smyrna PD.
“This is something I’ve always wanted,” Wood said. “I’m glad the mayor and council have the confidence in me to lead the police department as the chief of police.”
Wood said it feels great to be promoted and that his time as the interim police chief has been the best time he’s had in his 22-plus years working at the Smyrna Police Department.
Wood replaces former Smyrna Police Chief Wil Bordley, who retired in December. The town used the assistance of the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council in finding qualified candidates for the job.
Mayor Joanne Masten said the town initially received 66 applicants; the list was narrowed down to six candidates with the help of the DPCC.
“Since we only get one shot to get it right, the town took it’s time in order to come to the conclusion we did,” Masten said. “We’re very excited for Wood to bring his 20-plus years of experience and knowledge to the town. He has done a fantastic job in the seven months he’s worked as the interim chief.”
Masten is impressed and enthused by the programs Wood has implemented in the interim including the Community Policing Unit. Wood has started a new event, Coffee with a Cop, to improve the relationship officers have with the community. He’s also supported re-establishing the Police Athletic League Tennis program.
Wood’s approval as police chief did come with a few conditions. He’ll have a starting salary of $93,000; he’ll receive a one-time sum of $5,000 to compensate him for his time as the interim chief. His current contract as lieutenant is null and void as he’ll have a new contract as police chief. Wood will have the same benefits as other department employees not covered by the FOP. Finally, Wood is allowed to remain in his Wyoming home through the duration of his employment.
Wood was sworn in at the Smyrna Town Council meeting Monday night.
“We wish you well and look forward to working with you,” Masten told Wood after the approval.
As the new police chief, Wood has a few goals. He wants to increase the department manpower from 21 officers to the 23 offices Smyrna PD is supposed to have as well as bring back the summer internship program. He’ll continue to manage the budget more closely. Wood not only wants to continue the fight against drugs, but find ways for officers to help individuals struggling with addictions. He wants to restore the professionalism and respect the department once had years ago, continue to build community partnerships, and adjust the department’s organizational chart to more effectively manage the needs of the police department.
Wood said while he’s been working as the interim chief, he’s received a lot of support from the community.
“The reason I’m out in the community is because the police chief needs to be out, present and approachable,” he said.
Clayton resident and 30-year police officer Kevin Wilson believes Wood will make a great police chief. Wilson has known Wood for some time, stating the new chief has always been professional and has represented the town well.
"The town council got this one right and Smyrna will benefit from this," Wilson said via email.
Wood said Monday after being sworn in at the council meeting that he really appreciates and is humbled by the community support, and the support of the officers and employees of the police department.