Dover’s interim police chief earns praise from city officials

DOVER — He’s nearing mandatory retirement and has no current plans to seek to become Dover’s permanent police chief.

Shootings within city limits recently spiked, however, and there’s serious business to address now.

Deputy Chief Maj. Tim Stump, 53, is overseeing operations until recently-retired top cop Marvin Mailey’s replacement is found.

Some of the alleged gunmen are currently in custody and facing felony charges, and city detectives continue searching for others.

The deputy chief cited detectives for their combined pursuit, which continues today with other suspects still at-large.

“The common theme is that the perpetrators are all getting arrested and going to jail,” he said. “We’ve had a recent uptick in shootings and shots fired complaints over the past month and have made some strategic adjustments to combat this, which have already paid dividends and are proving to be successful as far as apprehensions go.”

Eliminating future gunfire is another challenge. High visibility patrols are ongoing to lessen the danger, and police don’t disclose other strategies to increase their covert effectiveness.

“We’ve cleared the overwhelming majority of this recent string of shootings and will continue to do so,” Deputy Chief Stump said. “The results of their efforts has been incredible.”

The violent flurry upped Dover’s year-to-date shootings to 14, or one more than at the same time in 2018.

“I think crime in Dover has relatively remained consistent for years and I am not overly concerned when we see a small window of an increase in crime,” he said. “These trends tend to be cyclical in nature and normally in the end they seem to even out.”

A veteran command staff — Deputy Chief Stump was hired by Dover PD in Oct. 1990 — hasn’t veered away from strategies it played a significant role in developing. The interim chief said his day to day duties are unchanged.

“It’s basically been business as usual since Chief Mailey retired,” he said. “I think we (staff) have a good idea of the direction we want to go and we are flexible enough to make adjustments when necessary.”

Mayor Robin R. Christiansen, who said the city is currently focused on finalizing the 2020 budget, applauded the interim police chief Wednesday.

“Deputy Chief Stump is doing an outstanding job and folks respect him,” the mayor said. “I told him to make any adjustments to policies and procedures as he sees fit because I trust his judgment and he’s also continuing on with initiatives that were ongoing when Mr. Mailey was chief.”

The mayor laid out a schedule for finding a permanent police chief:
• The city’s search committee will convene for the first time on Sept. 4. Members include Mayor Christiansen, City Manager Donna S. Mitchell, Human Resources Director Kim Hawkins, Council President William F. Hare and Safety Advisory and Transportation Committee chairman Ralph L. Taylor Jr. The Human Resources Department will be authorized to begin the nationwide search process by advertising the opening.
• By Oct. 1, all candidates must have submitted resumes.
• In November, face to face interviews are planned.
• A candidate is slated to be brought before city council at its Dec. 9 regular meeting.

Short term only
Just 18 months shy of retirement. the deputy chief doesn’t plan to seek the vacant chief position.

“I just don’t believe it would fair to the City of Dover to apply with such little time left,” he said.

He is among several officers who alleged racial discrimination during the last promotion/hiring process in 2014 and accepted a financial settlement.

“However, I am no less honored to oversee and work with the great men and women of this department now. They are truly the best group of people anyone could ever hope to lead. “The next police chief is already set up for success.”

Longevity in a municipal police force has significant benefits, Deputy Chief Stump said.

“I would like to think that I am very familiar with this community after having worked here for so many years,” he said. “I believe that our relationship with the public is strong.

“You will always have some who dislike this profession and sometimes they tend to be the most vocal, but I believe that the majority of the public truly appreciates what these men and women are faced with on a daily basis.

“We interact with the public thousands upon thousands of times each year and while we do not always get it right, we (darn) sure get it right most of the time.

“I’ve told our officers that every interaction you have with the public is an opportunity for you to have a positive impact.”
Deputy Chief Stump said he’s stayed with Dover PD for nearly three decades for “the love of the job itself. There is just no other job in the world like it.

“I don’t love it the way I once did because the further up the ladder you go the farther away you get from real police work. Being a staff officer is not what I would consider fun, but the path getting here, I wouldn’t change for the world.”

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