With nothing to hold them on, aside from his suspicions, Dellaria orders them to clear the area immediately, reminding them they are parked illegally. As the SUV pulls away, a nearby homeowner flags down Dellaria and asks to speak with him. The homeowner says incidents such as the one Dellaria just cleared from are on the rise again.
“It’s this time of the year that this starts,” the female resident says.
She asks him if they could visit the end of the street more often. Dellaria, with a toothy grin, says police would be happy to grant her request and asks her to call the station should she see anything suspicious. The resident looks grateful and waves as he turns around and heads back toward Broadway.
The trip down Atlantic Avenue personifies community policing — one of the goals of Dellaria’s boss, police Chief Thomas Fowler. Since Fowler’s hire last July, one of his goals has been for his officers to be proactive instead of reactive. In other words: stop crime before it starts.
Dellaria, who was hired by Fowler’s predecessor Chief Richard Merrill Jr. in December 2011, appears to be fitting in very well with Fowler’s mission.
“I’m very proactive. I get bored easily, simple as that,” Dellaria says.
Dellaria, who worked a 3 to 11 p.m. shift last week, says he typically prefers night shifts, as there is more going on. Summer months, he says, are far more busy too, calling Salisbury a “ghost town” during winter. During summer nights, it’s very difficult to be proactive, as police officers are often reacting to alcohol-fueled misbehavior, domestic disputes or drug-related mayhem. But during the quieter times, it’s his finely tuned sixth sense that lends to Fowler’s mission of stopping crime before it starts.