By Christopher Kersey

Michael Iglio is Middletown’s newest police chief, capping almost 20 years in law enforcement.

In his new position, he plans to work on the drug problem, certify the department with national standards, and work with local communities about policing.

Middletown Mayor and Town Council on Monday, Aug. 7, appointed Iglio as police chief, replacing Daniel Yeager, who retired after a 40-year policing career.

Iglio, who was promoted from captain to chief, sat down for an interview on Aug. 11, which was his first official day as police chief and Yeager’s last day.

Originally from Long Island, N.Y., Iglio began his career with the New Castle County Police and then joined Middletown Police Department on Oct. 1, 2007, which was the same time frame as when the department started.

Middletown has 34 police officers, up exponentially from the 20 when the department was re-started in 2007.

The department grew, he said, because of residential and commercial growth and annexation in both types of development.

Over the past couple years, calls for police assistance have been steady, but “we’ve seen an increase in heroin use and overdoses,” he said. Drugs are the biggest problem when it comes to crime in the town, he added.

“Drug addiction fuels many different types of crime [like] property crime such as theft from motor vehicles, burglaries, persons-related crimes such as robberies, and, of course, you have your shoplifters,” he said.

Enforcement alone won’t solve the drug problem, he said, but hopefully the department’s new “angel” program will help.

As announced by the previous police chief, the angel program allows people, who have a drug addiction and are taken into police custody for victimless crimes, to opt for a treatment program and the charge is eventually dropped.

“So, we are hoping that aspect of the solution to this problem will also help in addition to the fact we carry Narcan,” he said. Narcan is medication administered to victims of an overdose.

Middletown police don’t have anyone in the schools right now, but the department will hopefully be involved next summer with the Youth Academy, a two-week leadership school, held in partnership with the Southern New Castle County Communities Coalition.

The Youth Academy focuses on life skills, including vocational, social and substance abuse issues, he said.

On another issue, the department is in the middle of accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), whose purpose is to improve law enforcement service by creating a national body of standards developed by law enforcement professionals.

Officials from CALEA will review departmental procedures and ride-a-long with police officials to ensure those national standards are adhered to.

“For example, when involved in certain crimes, we have a written procedure that must be followed. They will come in and inspect those policies to make sure we are adhering to those policies,” he said.

On a personal note, Iglio has a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and recently graduated from Northwestern University School of Public Safety’s course in police staff and command.

His career started with New Castle County Police where he served almost 10 years. He started with Middletown police as a K-9 officer in 2007 and gradually moved up in rank.

“I never expected to be in this [chief] position, but I’m ecstatic that mayor and council chose me to lead this department and I will dedicate myself to ensuring the continued explementary service to the community,” he said.

The Middletown Police Department was established on July 2, 2007, with the approval of mayor and council after previously paying New Castle County to patrol the town.

 Town officials broke ground on a new 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art police station on March 25, 2008, which had its grand opening on Feb. 28, 2009. The police station is located at 130 Hampden Road, Middletown.