Ivan Barkley ready to serve as Delmar police chief


Ivan Barkley knew it was time to return to police work when he started reminding himself to watch “Family Feud” during his afternoons at home.

“I realized I knew what time every TV show came on. I said, ‘Oh, no. This is not for me.’  It only took winter to set in for me to realize I’m not built for watching TV,” the former assistant chief at the Salisbury Police Department said.

Last June, Barkley retired as colonel after 30 years, and this week took over as chief of the Delmar Police Department.

“Going back to work was the thing to do,” the Salisbury native said.

After his retirement, he worked as deputy for the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, and enjoyed it, but being chief in Delmar after former Chief Harold “Hal” Saylor retired,  was a better opportunity.

“Hal told me a long time ago he was looking at retiring soon. In fact, we were talking about our retirements at the same time,” Barkley said.

The new job will be different, considering in Salisbury he supervised 96 officers, and now has 14. But the history of the Delmar police department is rich and respected. The first chief, Arthur Lenwood “Dick” Godfrey, was hired as chief of police for Maryland around 1928 and served for 16 years, according to historical accounts.

Later, he was appointed to chief for Delmar, Delaware, but died soon after.

Barkley is continuing the tradition of policing in what he called “a hometown environment.”

“I expect it to continue that way. The kind of crimes we’re seeing in Salisbury, it’s kind of heart-breaking at times. I don’t know where all these guns are coming from,” he said.

“I don’t know that there is a comparison between Salisbury and Delmar police departments. It’s going to take a little time before I get my bearings, until I evaluate and see how the operation is here. I’m sure it will be a challenge,” he said.

Members of the community and fellow officers have told him they are glad to see him back in law enforcement, and he’s pleased, too.

The 55-year-old Barkley and his wife Casandra are the parents of five sons. Two of them are in law enforcement locally, but none in Delmar.

“I don’t know that they’d want to work for Dad,” he said, laughing.

He’s proud of his sons.

“Other than being in trouble with me, none of them have ever been in any trouble. I’m blessed. I know I’m blessed,” he said.

He has having found strong parenting skills make a good police officer. A father must listen, as well an officer, have logical conversations, explain consequences, offer guidance and stay involved.

A proponent of community policing, Barkley plans to spend time on the streets of Delmar, talking to residents, getting to know the area.

“To be a good police officer, you can’t just be behind a desk all the time,” he said.  “You have to get out there.”

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