Newark police chief named best in state
Published: Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 05:10
Newark police Chief Paul M. Tiernan received the Police Chief of the Year award in Dover last weekend from the Delaware League of Local Governments, an advocacy group to improve and assist local governments. The commemoration recognized his efforts to improve city safety and reduce vehicular collisions.
Tiernan instituted a crime suspension plan in fall 2008 to target street robberies and assaults involving university students. He said he focused on areas where crimes are most likely to occur and initiated aggressive patrolling tactics. As a result reported robberies decreased by 52 percent from 2006 to 2010.
"When I got here in 2007, we were having a lot of street robberies and students were the primary targets," Tiernan said. "We can't have that. So we started mapping out the places and times the robberies occurred and had plainclothes officers constantly patrolling the area, which really helped."
Tiernan said the reorganization of the traffic division led to a 17.4 percent decrease in collisions from 2008 to 2010. Prior to his changes, the division responded to all traffic collisions and violations, which consumed a significant amount of employees.
By shifting the responsibility of minor collisions and violations to patrol officers, the traffic division was able to focus on patrolling and fixing chronic collisions and known violation areas, he said.
"As a team, we worked rush hour to rush hour," Tiernan said. "Overall, it was very successful and helped reduce collisions."
District 2 Councilman Jerry Clifton said the chief was surprised to learn he had received the annual honor.
"He knew he had been nominated but didn't find out that he had been selected until earlier in the week," Clifton said. "There are a lot of great chiefs throughout the state, but this just verified what I've always thought—that Newark has the best chief there is."
Clifton said Tiernan deserved the honor because of his strong leadership skills. In addition to helping reduce the crime rates, he said Tiernan has addressed the concerns of Newark residents well.
"He's always out there with the people," Clifton said. "People in the community know him and respect him, and he'll do whatever it takes to meet with a neighbor or a civic association. He does whatever necessary to make Newark a safer place."
George Wright, executive director of the Delaware League of Local Governments, said Tiernan had competition throughout the state.
The league awards annual honors to the top police chiefs in Delaware. Either mayors or other police chiefs can nominate a community leader for this award.
"We had a lot of great write-ups this year," Wright said. "It was a tough decision, but Chief Tiernan clearly came out on top."
In addition to recognizing an outstanding police chief each year, Wright said the league also recognizes a city manager and municipal clerk.
"Our employees do a lot of great work," Wright said. "We want to recognize their accomplishments."
Tiernan said he was honored to win the award, but he felt that it reflected the entire department.
"The award is nice, but it should really go to the police officers who work 365 days a year to make Newark a better place," Tiernan said.