GEORGETOWN – Friday, Detective Joey Melvin will clock out on his last day with the Georgetown Police Department and as school resource officer for the Indian River School District.
Opportunity is knocking in neighboring Pennsylvania. While it is a tough and emotional decision, Detective Melvin will assume the role Oct. 21 as director of the Center for Safe Schools/Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, a nonprofit education service agency geared to serve the needs of schools, students, families and communities.
“I am a huge proponent and advocate for school-based policing when done correctly – officers properly selected and trained. I teach for the National Association of School Resource Officers. I am instructor for them. I am also the Region 3 director, on the board, which covers Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. It has allowed me to advocate for SROs on a national level and regional level and the local level,” he said.
“This opportunity, to be able to take my practical experience — the boots on the ground from within the schools — and then take my all my training and education and put it all together and be a director of an organization where I can literally have a full statewide impact in Pennsylvania, is something I didn’t want to pass up,” Detective Melvin said.
He leaves with a distinguished career in Delaware law enforcement, which includes stints with Milton, where he started, Harrington, Milford and Georgetown departments plus two years with the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
“There will be a definite void in our community. Joey has gone above and beyond the call of duty on many occasions, to take care of community needs, not only in the school but in the community,” said State Rep. Ruth Briggs King. “I’ve been to numerous things that he has held, and they have always been well-planned and well-staffed and managed.”
Since 2015, he has been the SRO for IRSD, encompassing Georgetown Middle, Georgetown Elementary, North Georgetown Elementary and Howard T. Ennis schools.
“During his time as a school resource officer at our Georgetown schools, Detective Melvin has been of great service to both students and staff,” said IRSD Superintendent Dr. Jay Owens. “It was obvious that he always had the best interests of the school and community at heart, and he constantly strived to make meaningful connections with students.”
“He was also an integral part of our efforts to ensure the physical safety of staff and students during each and every school day. We sincerely appreciate Detective Melvin’s service to our Georgetown schools and the entire Indian River School District,” Mr. Owens added. “He will be greatly missed, and we wish him luck in his future endeavors.”
State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn notes Detective Melvin’s impact on schools during his time with Homeland Security and as a mentor.
“He has been that mentor that a lot of them need. Not every kid comes from a perfect household, and some of those kids have come to him with problems and he has been there. He has been that role model,” said Sen. Pettyjohn. “You’ve got to have a unique skill set to be able to do that and do it well. And he has checked all the boxes for that.”
In addition, Detective Melvin has served as Georgetown Police Department’s public information officer.
Raised in Milton, Detective Melvin graduated from Sussex Tech in 1995. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Wilmington University and a masters degree from Liberty University. He is currently a doctorate student through Liberty University via online courses.
Topping the highlight reel in his work in Delaware is the Junior Police Academy, which he precipitated through Georgetown PD.
This year’s academy, held in mid-August at Delaware Technical Community College, featured 17 middle school student cadets thrust in an environment of discipline, motivation and teamwork.
“That Junior Academy, that has been the most gratifying thing, I think. Throughout my career I have been blessed to do a lot of things. I had a vision for that for a long time, ever since I was with Milford. And to be able to bring it to fruition in Georgetown has been extremely gratifying,” said Detective Melvin. “I have done it for six years. And being able to hopefully quantify the impact that it made has been tremendous. Especially the past week as students have learned that I was leaving, some of the messages that I have gotten have kind of really hit home. That reassured me that the direction I took hopefully was a good one for them.”
“He has started so many programs that encourage you to follow a good path … to be thinking about their futures and their careers, from starting the cadet program, and including diversity in what he has done,” said Rep. Briggs King. “You can never blame somebody for opening a door for an opportunity somewhere else, and he is getting that position because of this. Nothing but good wishes for him as he continues his journey.”
“He is an asset that we are absolutely going to miss down here,” said Sen. Pettyjohn. “The things that he has brought to not only Georgetown but schools all over the state — it’s going to be the roadmap for years to come.”
For the foreseeable future, Detective Melvin plans to remain a Delawarean, with his wife Sammie, a math teacher at Sussex Academy, and two sons, ages 11 and 9. He plans to commute and work remotely in his new work position.