FRANKFORD — Not too long ago, Frankford was a town without a municipal police force. But now, the growing agency will include four officers.
Three part-timers, including the first female officer in department history, are coming on-board, according to Frankford Police Chief Lawrence Corrigan.
“The council and I, they came to the decision, and to make the agency grow, we’re going to pick up three part-time officers, who are working elsewhere. We can cover 48 hours a week with part-time employees,” said the chief, who was hired by the town in November 2019.
The three part-time staffers are employed full time with other agencies — the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the Selbyville Police Department and the South Bethany Police Department, Chief Corrigan said.
“Their full-time employment takes precedence over us. I have to be cognizant of that. I don’t want them overdoing it either,” he added.
Megan Loulou, a full-time officer with Selbyville PD, has also worked part time with Dagsboro. She will be Frankford PD’s first female officer.
One part-timer has been sworn in, and two were scheduled to do so Wednesday. While their equipment is coming in “piecemeal,” Chief Corrigan anticipates that all three “should be up and running” by early October.
Until now, the town’s force has consisted of Chief Corrigan and one part-time officer, who is departing.
Town leaders had budgeted funding for two additional part-time officers in the fiscal year 2021-22 budget, the total of which is $475,128.22. Of that, about $247,000 covers payroll.
During the two-year hiatus without a police force, 2017-19, the town contracted state police, according to Frankford Town Clerk Cheryl Lynch.
Chief Corrigan said there was a great deal of interest in the part-time positions.
“I was very honored and surprised with the amount of people that we had applying, especially within what is going on across the country with police recruitment,” he said Tuesday. “In fact, I got an email at 3 or 4 o’clock this morning from a guy that wants to come volunteer with us for no pay.
“It has just been amazing the response I have gotten from all over and, most importantly, (from) my own community. I mean, we’re in a decided ‘defund the police’ environment, and residents of my town came together for a budgetary meeting in June and wanted to voluntarily raise their own property taxes to support the police department.”
Ms. Lynch said a focus of the June 24 public meeting was “to be able to find ways that we could fund more towards the police department, so that Larry could be able to hire those part-time officers.”
In the end, there was no change, and the town property tax rate remained at $2.50 per $100 of assessed value.
Chief Corrigan noted the little town’s growth.
“Seventeen homes have started and finished since I came here. We’ve got developers interested. We’ve got some major retailers interested, as well. Things are really on the uptick,” he said. “I have got a great deal of support in town and out of town from surrounding agencies. These three new hires I think are going to be a vast improvement to the services we’re providing in Frankford.”