Outreach a priority in new Frankford police chief’s blotter

Frankford Police Chief Laurence Corrigan shares information on the department’s community-related initiatives at the Feb. 3 town council meeting. (Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe)

FRANKFORD — Technically, Laurence Corrigan is a one-person police force.

He doesn’t view it that way. He considers the Frankford town council, staff and community at large as unofficial deputies.

“I’ve got great folks behind — and in front of me,” said the Frankford police chief during his monthly update/presentation at the Feb. 3 town council meeting.

Chief Corrigan was sworn in Friday, Nov. 22, filling Frankford’s more than two-year police chief void created when Mark Hudson resigned in July 2017.

Chief Corrigan is big on outreach, for both children, adults and families.

In the Frankford community, it includes interactive reading sessions with children as part of a partnership with the Frankford Public Library. The chief says he will wear a Dr. Seuss hat when he reads to kids.

Thus far, two party events for kids have been held at the town hall/police headquarters, one over holiday break and the most recent Saturday, Feb. 1.

“The last one we actually had four generations of one family here. We’re trying to do it at least once a month,” said Chief Corrigan, who worked previously with the Fenwick Island and Selbyville police departments.

For adults, the game plan in the works is to hold periodic Coffee with a Cop hours with adults for open discussion at the Frankford Diner. “That’s what I did in Selbyville and it went over very well. It’s very productive,” he said.

He has been approached by residents about forming something along the lines of a citizens’ police patrol.

“We’re at the infancy of that,” said Chief Corrigan. “We’ve got to vet that. That is going to take some research on my part, because it’s got to be done correctly. Right now, with a brand new agency, we’ve got to get everything right. I’d like to have that to up within six months. I think it’s going to be a winner.”

At the council meeting, he reported that he has been in contact with CHEER Inc., which serves senior citizens in Sussex County about programs.

He also has been approached by Brandywine Counseling, to possibly collaborate on a weekly stop in Frankford to assist in the battle against opiate addiction. Based in Milford, Brandywine Counseling has an RV that comes to towns in southern Delaware. It includes a nurse practitioner and counselors who are authorized to hand out anti-opiates, in this case Suboxone, Chief Corrigan said. Several other police departments, among them Selbyville and Laurel, utilize this counseling service, he said.

“They are asking to be here three hours a week, counseling those addicted to opiate issues. They’re not handing out drugs,” said Chief Corrigan. “My theory is, if it doesn’t work out for us, we’ll stop it, if it comes here.”

He also made note that the town and police are now armed with a camera system at the Frankford Community Park, offering various angles of surveillance.

Chief Corrigan’s other initiatives include:

•programs for internet crime training for parents to protect their children and elderly-related programs to protect them fraudulent activities;

•traffic education;

•possible mental health professional intervention to address any needs of that nature, particularly with children in the community;

•after-school programs for the children.

“Our goals and objectives we have outlined are being met,” said Chief Corrigan. “I think we are doing very well. We’ve got a long way to go. I am certainly not a complacent guy. I thoroughly enjoy being busy. I think when you are an approachable police agency people approach you. When people approach you, they have complaints. I’ve been doing this for 37 years.”

Chief Corrigan, in his state of town’s police force address, complimented Cheryl Lynch, the town clerk, on her behind-the-scenes effort to prepare for events and activities.

Additionally, Chief Corrigan said he was deeply touched in that he recently had the honor of swearing in officers at Frankford Volunteer Fire Company Station 76.

“I am not a volunteer fireman. I have always admired what they are doing,” he said. “At 2 in morning, if I am out, I am probably getting paid. These folks are getting out of warm beds to fight fires and protect us. That was a big deal for me. It’s critical in that we are all working together.”

Chief Corrigan notes that a good portion of his time must be devoted to administrative and paperwork. He hopes that may change this year.

“By the close of this year I am hoping to have a second officer here to help. I predicted it was going to be a pretty long year but some of my colleagues in the other towns said it’s probably going to be a long first two years,” said Chief Corrigan. “But we’re not wavering. We’re not going anywhere. We’re going to really make this work.”