A long running conflict between the Darby Borough and the Colwyn Police Department has reached a breaking point. Darby Borough officials decided to end its police mutual agreement with Colwyn Borough.
“We believe the officers don’t know jurisdiction and they’re not properly trained,” said Darby Borough Police Chief Robert Smythe.
During a traffic stop in Darby on September 29, Smythe claims Colwyn Police Officer Michael Hale interfered with their investigation by walking between a Darby Officer and the suspect, placing the officer’s life in danger.
“In my 42 years in police, I’ve never seen anything like this during a felony car stop,” Smythe said.
Darby officials decided to dissolve the nearly 25 year mutual aid agreement with Colwyn. They also filed a complaint against Officer Hale with the Delaware County Criminal Investigations Division.
Hale has been a member of the Colwyn Police force since April and is also a former Philadelphia Highway Patrol Officer. Colwyn Deputy Police Chief Anthony Floyd stands by Hale’s actions.
“The Colwyn Borough police officer acted consistently with the best practices of policing in our region,” Floyd said.
“We welcome any investigation into this situation because I know this officer did a good job,” said Colwyn Public Safety Director Rochelle Bilal.
Chief Floyd also says his department has tried to communicate with Darby Borough Officials and will continue to do so.
“We will continue to reach out to Chief Smythe and develop a very positive working relationship for the strategic partnership with Darby,” Smythe said.
Members of the Darby Borough Council plan to approve an end to the mutual agreement next week.
Both Bilal and the Colwyn Police Department have been at the center of controversy before.
Last July, Bilal was accused by a Colwyn Police Officer of intercepting mail addressed to borough officers. The district attorney withdrew the theft charges against her and the officer who accused her was fired.
Last year a Colwyn Police Officer was accused of tasering a teenager who was already handcuffed in a holding cell. He was later found not guilty on all charges.