Fenwick Offers Details After Former Police Chief’s Sentencing

FENWICK ISLAND – Additional information on the events resulting in the indictment of Fenwick Island’s former police chief came to light this week after he pleaded guilty to official misconduct and falsifying business records.

On Thursday, Fenwick Island’s new chief of police, John Devlin, issued a statement detailing the events that led to the resignation and indictment of former Police Chief William Boyden, who pleaded guilty this week for his role in submitting false reports about his firearms certification that allowed him to remain in his official capacity.

In August, a Delaware grand jury indicted Boyden – a 17-year employee of the Fenwick Island Police Department – on charges of official misconduct and falsifying business records after he knowingly submitting false reports to the Delaware Council on Police Training (COPT) indicating he had been certified in firearms. According to the indictment, the offenses occurred on or between Feb. 3, 2014 and March 4, 2020, during his tenure as Fenwick Island’s police chief.

Following this week’s conclusion of the case, Devlin – who was sworn in as the new police chief earlier this month – provided additional information on the events that led to Boyden’s indictment, from questionable documentation that was discovered in May to the town’s involvement with the investigation.

“In May of this year, questionable documentation was discovered in the training records of Police Chief William Boyden,” the statement reads. “Irregularities were noted in the mandatory annual training program as regulated by the State of Delaware, Council on Police Training (COPT). FIPD supervisory staff members took immediate action and notified Town officials of what appeared to be false entries on official forms. As a result, Chief Boyden was immediately placed on administrative leave and appropriate notifications were made to begin a thorough and independent investigation of the facts.”

Devlin wrote that COPT administrative staff and the Office of the Attorney General investigated the matter. During the investigation, he said, Boyden chose to depart from the police department.

“The Fenwick Island Police Department, Town Employees and Town Officials have fully cooperated with the investigation of former Police Chief Boyden,” the statement reads. “The resolved case against him is another step toward accountability and transparency as it relates to this regrettable event.”

Devlin said the police department was deferring all comments regarding criminal conduct to the attorney general’s office. But he noted Boyden’s indictment and guilty plea was not a reflection of any larger issues within the police department.

“To be clear, this was an individual failure and not a reflection of an organizational problem,” the statement reads. “The agency made the discovery, reported the issue, and actively supported this review. Going forward, additional mechanisms of oversight have been adopted to prevent a future occurrence of similar behavior. A comprehensive policy review will follow in an effort to identify other areas of potential improvement. The FIPD is a team of professional and hard-working public servants. Residents and visitors to Fenwick Island can expect our officers to continue their proud history of delivering superior service and providing a safe environment to live, work, and thrive.”

For each offense, Boyden was sentenced to one year in prison, which was suspended for one concurrent year of Level 2 probation, and issued a suspended fine of $100, according to a statement issued by the Delaware Department of Justice on Wednesday. Boyden has also agreed to no longer work in a law enforcement capacity.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.