Seaford appoints acting chief
By Tony E. Windsor
Following the exit of former Seaford Police Chief Richard Pounsberry on Aug. 31, city officials wasted no time in finding a replacement. On Tuesday morning, Sept. 3, Seaford Mayor Daniel Short held a press conference to announce an interim police chief for the department.
Lt. Gary Morris, a 25-year veteran of the Seaford Police Department, has been picked to be acting police chief while the city takes formal action to seek a permanent replacement.
During the 8 a.m. press conference, Short expressed his excitement and confidence in Morris as leader of the 20-member police department. “Lt. Morris has the skills to lead this department and is committed to the city and the police department,” Short said in making the announcement. “He has held a variety of positions while a police officer; virtually every position in the department. I have full confidence in Lt. Morris and he has the full support of the city council and me.”
Morris said he is appreciative of the support from the city’s elected officials and members of the Seaford Police Department and looks forward to the challenges that lie ahead. “There will be uninterrupted police service during this interim and the mission of a community-oriented work environment will remain unchanged. It is the police department’s commitment to insure a safe community in which to live and work.”
In his introduction of Morris as acting police chief, Short said there is a “new day” in the community of Seaford. “We have a new acting police chief and we are starting a new school year,” he said.
“This is a great opportunity for the City of Seaford. We have well-trained men and women on our police force and we look forward to continued quality service for the people of Seaford.”
Short also announced that along with naming a new acting police chief, there will also be a change made on the council in reference to who will serve as Police Commissioner.
Councilman Ed Butler, who has for a number of years been Police Commissioner, will switch roles with Councilman Larry Miller, who serves as Electric Committee Chairman.
In explaining why the council will undergo the change, Short said it is simply because the opportunity presents itself. “We just feel that we are making a change in chief, so another change would not hurt,” he said.
“Larry [Miller] has a background in police work and his experience is part of the consideration.”
Seaford City Manager Dolores Slatcher said she has been serving the city only two weeks longer than Morris and looks forward to working closely with him as acting chief of police.
“The city manager and police chief work very closely together and I am excited to be working with Lt. Morris. We have worked together our entire careers and I look forward to this new opportunity,” she said.
Slatcher said the city will begin soliciting applications for a new police chief. The search will include both candidates from within the Seaford Police Department as well as outside. She said with the loss of Pounsberry and an upcoming retirement, the police department is working with 20 of a potential 24-full-time employees.
Even with the shortfall of staff at the police department, Mayor Short said he feels the department is the one of the best in the area. “I feel we have a great police department,” he said.
“I know that with the shortage of manpower we obviously face certain challenges. However, I feel this department is the best, not just in Delaware, but also throughout the surrounding area, including Maryland. We are here to support Gary [Morris] and help him get the job done.”
Morris’s wife, Renee, a member of administration at Nanticoke Health Services, was on hand and offered her words of support for her husband and the police department.
“Gary is a wonderful person and I appreciate this opportunity being given him by the city and the police department,” she said. “I truly feel the citizens and staff will be very pleased.”
Former Police Chief Pounsberry left the Seaford Police Department after five years, when the council did not renew his contract. No specific reasons were given for why the contract was not renewed.
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