Hired by the Berlin Police Department in the fall of 1991, Police Chief Arnold Downing is in his 32nd year with the agency and in his 21st as the Chief of Police. Chief Downing earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice & Deviance from Delaware State College (1990) and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Sojourner-Douglass College (2004). Chief Downing has been a certified police instructor since 1995.
Chief Downing is a founding member of the Worcester County Child Advocacy Center, now titled the C.R.I.C.K.E.T. Center, a senior board member of the Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Service since 2003, and is a member of several nationally, state, and local boards and commissions.
Chief Downing believes that markers for agency success include developing strong partnerships with the community, governmental and law enforcement agencies, the ability to utilize proactive problem-solving techniques to deter crime and fear of crime, and prioritizing community involvement in addressing the public safety concerns of the Town of Berlin. Chief Downing notes that the foundation on which the Berlin Police Department stands is a professional staff which has over 350 years of combined experience.
What services does your department provide?
- Enforcement of laws
What are the typical day-to-day functions for you?
- Dispatchers – Answer and direct officers to calls for service, interact with the public, both in person and via telephone.
- Officers – Perform general duty police work in the protection of life and property through the enforcement of laws and ordinances.
- Supervisors: (Corporal & Sergeant) – Supervises police officers, renders assistance to officers and members of the public, submits supervisory reports as required, applies basic principles of supervision, including performance evaluations, discipline, problem identification, problem solving, and scheduling, address public concerns and mediates and resolves problems as a representative of the department.
- Administrators: Lieutenants – Plans, directs, supervises, coordinates, and evaluates activities of assigned officers and employees, Performs administrative, supervisory, preventive and enforcement tasks assigned, identifies objectives, problems and concerns and initiates activities to address each, reviews complaints of staff and officers of the agency, serves as a representative for the Chief of Police before the public and other agencies and organizations, assumes responsibility for the daily functions of a departmental division.
What changes have you experienced or implemented for your department and the way it functions? What changes would you most like to see?
The technology available at the officers’ and civilian staffs’ fingertips has greatly improved the efficiency and timeliness of their abilities to perform their jobs. Mobile data terminals in vehicles, electronic tickets and electronic sharing platforms are examples of obtaining and sharing information with other officers and agencies virtually instantly, as opposed to the officer having to contact the station by radio, relay the information to the dispatcher, who would then look-up information via computer, and relay it back to the officer.
Berlin also has a number of personnel certified as in-house trainers, providing entry-level in-service firearms training, Taser training, SWAT training, and community level training. Well over half of Berlin’s officers are trainers.
In the future I hope to continue to have access to technological advances, to include tag readers, and to have the ability to add an individual to the County Enforcement Team.
What can you tell citizens to make your department’s job easier and their interaction with your department go as smoothly as possible?
We often hear, after-the-fact, that someone noticed something suspicious or out-of-the-ordinary, but didn’t report it at the time. Reporting suspicious activity as it occurs can often be an important part of preventing a crime from occurring, or assisting with an investigation. Be involved in your neighborhood and community, so that you have a better awareness of when something is wrong, or out of place.
The Police Department is available to our citizens and organizations to provide crime-prevention education and tips. If someone is interested in learning more, please contact us at 410-641-1334 (non-emergency) or email [email protected].
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Completing a task or investigation and being appreciated by the complainant and community.
What is an aspect of your job that is less enjoyable?
Dealing with death or injury to someone (especially children).
Where do you see your department in 10 years? What is on your “wish list” for your department?
New Police station and retiree health insurance.
For more specific information about the Berlin Police Department, please visit their website at www.berlinmdpd.org.