New Dover police chief ready to connect with residents

Dover’s new police chief Marvin Mailey, left, shares a laugh with Public Affairs and Emergency Coordinator Kay Sass and Mayor Robin Christiansen after meeting with the media on Tuesday at City Hall. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Standing 6-foot-5 and carrying a strapping 215 pounds, Marvin C. Mailey Jr. cuts an imposing figure wherever he goes.

With a resumé that topped 33 others vying to become Dover’s new police chief, his experience is pretty weighty too.

The city formally introduced the nearly 24-year veteran of the Dover Police Department to the media on Tuesday morning and provided a four-page summation of his work history, training, education and accomplishments since 1988.

The overview included Chief Mailey’s community-oriented history indicating great interest in connecting with city residents and a litany of leadership positions in a wide array of police operations.

And yet, one historic description of the chief wasn’t in the paperwork — he’s the first African-American to ever lead the Dover Police Department.

Chief Mailey, 50, will be thrilled if his promotion prompts black youth to work hard and aspire to become law enforcement officers, he said, motivated by the realization that it can happen for them like it did for him.

He’s mindful of serving as police chief for all Dover citizens as well, and believes his nearly quarter decade stay here will be beneficial in understand the community’s concerns and interests.

“After serving the last 24 years with the Dover Police Department I think it proves that I am invested in this community and I hope my loyalty continues to show as I more forward in the position of chief,” Dover’s 14th police chief said.

An official swearing in ceremony is scheduled for today at 1 p.m. at the Dover Police Department at 400 S. Queen Street.

That should filter down to the rank and file police officers devoted to serving and protecting a populace of approximately 37,000.

“Community outreach is the foundation of community policing and I firmly believe that if we aren’t connecting with our community and allowing them to see us for who we really are — then we aren’t doing our job,” Chief Mailey said during introductory remarks at City Hall.

Not surprisingly, the new chief pointed to Dover’s increasing firearm and drug crimes — often tied together — as a leading concern.

When Chief Mailey began as a patrol officer in 1993, confiscating a firearm was rare. Now it’s a daily concern, he said.

“You see that virtually every traffic stop, we’re taking a gun out of somebody’s hands,” he said. “That’s good, but it’s alarming.”

Several negative statistics were noted by Dover Police in their 2016 annual report:

•11.6 percent more complaints received than 2015, an increase of 4,561 calls.

•14.7 percent increase in violent crimes, including murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

•15 more robberies last year, 72 percent of the crimes cleared.

•110 burglary investigations in 2016, up 29 from 2015, 63 percent solved.

•21.7 percent increase in traffic arrests from the previous 12 months, 16,890 total.

Dover PD cleared 771 of 779 drug-related arrests it made in 2016 and had some of the best rates overall on a national scale. The Drugs, Vice and Organized Crime unit investigated 2,399 cases, up from 1,688 in 2015.

Coordinated efforts

Since December, Dover PD has coordinated efforts of patrol, community policing and street crimes units to cover selected areas on a consistent basis.

According to the report, Dover PD was fully staffed with 101 sworn officers last year, The 31 civilian positions was one short of maximum.

Early in the news conference, the chief pointed to the importance of the youth-centered Police Athletic League and reaching out to the younger generation. The interviews ended and he hustled off to the announcement of the new Just(ice) In Time Training Seminar for Teenagers & Young Adult Males of Color to be held at the Greater Dover Boys & Girls Club. Dover PD partnered with the program in an attempt to build more positive community relationships.

The transition should be smooth since the chief served as interim Dover PD leader after Paul Bernat retired in January. He was named Mr. Bernat’s second-in-charge deputy chief in April 2014.

Regarding the Dover Police staff Chief Mailey already knows well through daily interactions for years, he aims to be “Firm, fair and consistent.”

Currently, Dover’s new top cop has completed 78 credits towards a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Wilmington University. In 2014, he attended the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety, School of Police Staff and Command program for nearly a month.

Chief Mailey offered some insight into his personal life, referencing his nearly 25-year marriage and “incredible support” from wife Charlene and three adult children.

“I have been very blessed in both my personal life and my professional life,” he said.

While he ran track, played football and basketball at Tabb High School in Yorktown, Virginia, Chief Mailey first grew up in New York. He described living in the “worst part” of the Bronx. As years passed, the Chief has relaxed more by playing golf and fishing.

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