A minute with... Colonel E.M. Setting, winner of the Presidential Unit Citation and the Navy Expeditionary Medal


A minute with...Colonel E.M. Setting, winner of the Presidential Unit Citation from President Reagan and the Navy Expeditionary Medal for Military Action in Libya. Post-Navy, Setting joined the New Castle County, Del., police force where he rose to his present position of acting police chief.

Name three projects of which you are most proud.

1)    Developing and implementing our Targeted Analytic Policing System (T.A.P.S.) program, which has resulted in a double-digit decrease in homicides and overall crime in one year without an increase in budget or staffing… Now we focus on the lesser crimes before they escalate. In just the first year of the program, crime in the entire county was decreased by 10 percent with a 37 percent decrease in homicides and double-digit decreases in other major crime categories…

2)    Reduction in property crimes through the Property Crime Initiative (PCI). One of the areas that did not see significant decreases from the T.A.P.S. program was in property-related crimes… We began PCI which provided additional training and equipment to officers in the Patrol Division and gave them direct lines of communications with our detectives... The results in just six months have been impressive. Home break-ins have decreased 17 percent, thefts are down 19 percent, and the number of cars stolen is down 11 percent...

3)    Being one of the first police chiefs in Delaware to talk about the heroin epidemic in our county and continuing to work to stop the spread of this drug. As the result of the T.A.P.S. program and PCI, we quickly realized that those using heroin were committing crimes to support their addictions. We have added additional investigators and teams to target those distributing heroin. In just one year our seizures of this deadly drug have increased 270 percent and resulted in the largest single heroin seizure in our agency’s history…

Tell us about your most challenging day at the office.

One of the most difficult things any police chief faces is admitting the current model you are using to police is not working or sustainable. Very early in my tenure as colonel, I came to this conclusion and swiftly began enacting changes to the failing traditional, reactive policing methods we employed. These changes were not immediately embraced and included restructuring of the department from the top down. These proved my most challenging days as I “broke” a department I love and proudly serve, with no guarantees I was doing the right thing.

Do you have any personal, proven methods for approaching municipal challenges?

We can fight crime by making thousands of arrests, seizing masses of drugs and guns, but the real question is: do people feel safer? If not, are we really effective? The programs we are currently utilizing work, and the true test has been passed. Citizens of New Castle County feel safer. We have made the way we police transparent to our citizens, elected officials and other agencies. By making our stakeholders aware and involved, we are better able to understand the issues impacting them most. We can then tailor resources, ideas and preventative measures to attack these priority issues.

One fact people might be surprised to learn?

I had the privilege of becoming a mounted patrol officer. After grueling training, I patrolled our communities with my mount “Star.” We routinely made criminal arrests, ran radar and issued traffic tickets – all from horseback. Our unit competed in the North American Police Equestrian Championships during which I placed first in the Uniform Competition. Even while being the only mounted officer in the agency’s history to become chief of police, I still ride with the unit.

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Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...

Jason Axelrod

Jason Axelrod is an award-winning journalist who has reported for The Seattle Times, The Arizona Republic, the Phoenix Business Journal and Mother Nature Network, among other outlets. Jason...
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