Dover Police Department: Photos showing sleeping officers being investigated

By Craig Anderson
Posted 8/17/21

DOVER — Early Tuesday afternoon, Dover police announced that an investigation is ongoing into photos appearing to show two officers sleeping in their patrol vehicles.

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Dover Police Department: Photos showing sleeping officers being investigated

Posted

DOVER — Early Tuesday afternoon, Dover police announced that an investigation is ongoing into photos appearing to show two officers sleeping in their patrol vehicles.

The public notification was posted on the agency’s Facebook page and read: “The Dover Police Department is aware of a photo(s) circulating online that appear to show two of our officers asleep in their patrol vehicles on Monday night/Tuesday morning. We are actively investigating the circumstances surrounding this issue and the appropriate corrective action will occur in short order. The Dover Police Department Code of Conduct is modeled off of a national standard. That standard will be applied to this incident. The behavior is unacceptable to our agency, unfair to our citizens, and certainly outside of department policy.”

According to Dover police spokesman Sgt. Mark Hoffman, “Both officers remain employed but will be held accountable based on our department policy.”

He added, “We can provide an update on this issue upon completion of the review and within established guidelines.”

Through private and public social media messages and comments, Dover police learned of the photos early Tuesday, Sgt. Hoffman said.

Police believe the pictures are from Monday night or early Tuesday morning, the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, he said.

“We have no reason to believe the photos are not legitimate,” he said, adding that the department’s command staff is handling the issue.

Additionally, “the health, well-being and overall safety of our officers is a top priority of the Dover Police Department. For safety reasons, we encourage our officers not to operate vehicles when fatigued,” Sgt. Hoffman said.

“There are also limits in policy on the number of hours an officer can work without a minimum amount of time off. During routine operations, should an officer not feel well or feel an unusual amount of fatigue, they are encouraged to speak with their supervisor, so proper measures can be taken.”

Within about an hour, the post elicited more than 350 reactions on Facebook. About three hours later, the number of comments was about 760.

An early comment read, “Hey you all deserve some rest. You all do a lot for our town. Thanks for everything.”

Other positive comments included:

  • “The Dover Police Department is doing a commendable job. Let’s concentrate on the 99.9% of the good things.”
  • “Some people just be haters.”
  • “Over worked and under appreciated. Give them a break already! Geesh people.”
  • “Come on, give them a stern warning! No more, no less. They protect the interests and well being for their community, putting their lives on the line. Whoever took the picture is prob a real winner. I stand with the boys in blue! Maybe they were allowing their eyes to adjust to the lighting at a quicker rate!”
  • “So what they could have been exhausted. No one knows their lives. Give them a break. Better than driving and fall asleep!!”
  • “Don’t jump to conclusions! How do you know if these guys were on a break or lunch? A 5 minute power nap can make you much more productive. Its not uncommon to call dispatch and let them know that you are closing your eyes for a minute.”
  • “People do the same thing to our electrician workers during major storms, doesn’t matter they are on 16 hr shifts, God forbid they stop at wawa for a coffee or snooze for 10 minutes, the keyboard warriors are all out wanting their heads.”

Not all reactions to the photos were positive, however:

  • “The boot licking is strong in this comment section.”
  • “Well it happened and now they need to be accountable for it. … They don’t get no break just like nobody else gets a break.”
  • “Now what if something big was happening in the area they was (asleep) in and didn’t hear the call? what if an armed person ran down on them while they was (asleep) these things need to be taking into consideration. ... You can’t serve and protect your community let alone yourself if you’re asleep in public view. ... If this person got that close to take a picture UNNOTICED, ... no telling who else could (have gotten) that close.”
  • “I dont feel sorry for them they have a job to do Do it.”
  • “These comments defending the officers are hilarious! People will excuse anything and look stupid doing it. Sleeping on the job is not ok in any profession. You’re on company time, not your own. There are thousands of workers who work overnight all over the world and they’re not allowed to sleep. Someone with a role as IMPORTANT and SIGNIFICANT as a police officer surely shouldn’t be excused.”