On Tuesday, March 25th, the City of Dover Police Department announced that Major Paul M. Bernat would become the department’s 13th Chief of Police, filling the position most recently held by Chief James E. Hosfelt, Jr., who is retiring on April 4th.
The son of an Air Force family, Bernat moved to the State of Delaware in 1976 and has resided in the Dover area for the past 38 years. Major Bernat is a 1985 graduate of Caesar Rodney High School and received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Delaware Technical Community College in 1992. Bernat continued his education at Wilmington University, earning his Bachelor of Science, Criminal Justice Degree in 2002. `He would later be selected to attend the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA where he graduated in 2009 as a member of the 236th FBI Academy Class.
Major Bernat began his law enforcement career in March of 1988 with the Bethany Beach Police Department. After graduation from the Delaware State Police Academy and serving the Town of Bethany Beach for sixteen months, Bernat joined the City of Dover Police Department in July of 1989 where he spent the first ten years of his career as a Patrol Officer, seven of them as a K-9 Officer. In July of 1997, Bernat earned the rank of Corporal and continued to serve in the Patrol unit as a section leader until October of 1999, when he was transferred to the Special Enforcement Unit as a member of the Motorcycle Division. Major Bernat continued his climb through the ranks, earning his Sergeant stripes in September of 2001, becoming the Special Unit Enforcement Supervisor. During his time in this position, he oversaw the Community Policing Unit, Motorcycle Unit, Parking Enforcement Unit, and Animal Control for the City of Dover.
Major Bernat earned his first Staff Officer rank in March of 2005 when he became a Lieutenant and the Special Enforcement Unit (SEU) Commander. In addition to his duties as the SEU Commander, Bernat assumed the responsibility of Emergency preparedness for the City of Dover until 2008, when he was transferred to the position of Patrol Unit Commander, holding the same rank. In November of 2009, Bernat was promoted to the rank of Captain and was assigned to the Operations Commander position. Bernat earned his current rank of Major in April of 2010, where he has served for the last four years. Major Bernat reached the pinnacle of his law enforcement career when it was announced that he was chosen to be the 13th Chief of the Dover Police Department. Bernat will be sworn in as the Chief of Police on Friday, April 4th by Dover Mayor Carleton E. Carey, Sr.
Bernat resides in Camden, Delaware with his wife of 25 years, Tina and his daughters Rachel (21) and Rebekah (16).
• Patrol Officer, Bethany Beach police Department, March 1988-July 1989
• Graduated from the Delaware State Police Academy, September 1988
• Patrolman, City of Dover Police Department, July 1989-January 1992
• Patrolman 1st Class/K-9 Handler/Patrol Unit, January 1992-June 1998
• Special Operation Response Team (S.O.R.T.) Member, July 1993-December 1999
• Corporal, Patrol Unit Section Leader, July 1997-October 1999
• Corporal, Special Enforcement Unit, Motorcycle Unit, October 1999-September 2001
• Sergeant, Special Enforcement Unit Supervisor, September 2001-March 2005
• Lieutenant, Special Enforcement Unit Commander, March 2005-January 2008
• Lieutenant, Patrol Unit Commander, January 2008-March 2009
• Captain, Operations Division, November 2009-April 2010
• Major, Deputy Chief of the Dover Police Department, April 2010-Present
• Selected as the 13th Chief of The Dover Police Department, March 25, 2014
• Will be sworn in as Chief of Police on April 4th, 2014
• 2009 Graduate of the 236th FBI National Academy
• 2005 Distinguished Unit Award
• 2005 10-Year Safe Driving Award
• 2003 Meritorious Service Award
• 2003 Perfect Attendance Award
• 2001 Distinguished Unit Award
• 2000 Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 15 Outstanding Member Award
• 1999 Class “A’ Commendation
• 1999 Service Achievement Award
• 1999 Safe Driving Award
• 1998 Distinguished Unit Award
• 1997 Class “A” Commendation
• 1997 Distinguished Service Award
• 1996 Distinguished Unit Award
• 1995 USPCA Region III Field Trial Champion
• 1988 Delaware State Police Academy Chief of Police Award (Outstanding Leadership)
Statement from Major Paul Bernat:
“I am excited and honored to be appointed as Chief of Police. It is a humbling feeling to be chosen to lead such a talented group of law enforcement officers”
Statement from City of Dover Mayor Carleton E. Carey, Sr.:
“I am proud to announce Major Paul Bernat as the new Chief of Police for the City of Dover, after interviewing each of the candidates Major Bernat’s experience and level of leadership is outstanding. This was neither an easy decision nor one that was rushed in to. We are fortunate that we have three very dedicated, educated and talented officers that were being looked at, however I feel Major Bernat will do a fine job filling the role being vacated due to the retirement of Chief James Hosfelt. We value our police department very much, and they don’t always get the gratitude they deserve. Each of the men interviewed are outstanding individuals bringing something strong to our force.”
Statement from Dover Fraternal Order of Police President, David Gist:
“The Dover Fraternal Order of Police congratulates Major Paul Bernat on being named the new Chief of the Dover Police Department. We look forward to working with him to continue our goal of providing the City of Dover quality police services and provide a safer community for its citizens.”
The City of Dover Police Department will hold a press conference on Friday, March 28th, at 10:00am in the Dover Police Department’s Public Assembly Room to introduce Major Paul M. Bernat as the new Chief of The Dover Police Department. Due to limited availability during the next several days and weeks, this will be the ONLY opportunity for media members to conduct interviews with the new Chief at this time. Members of the media are asked to arrive on time and have all necessary equipment set up by the designated 10:00am start time. We thank you for your continued support of the Dover Police Department and look forward to your attendance. Questions/Concerns should be addressed with the Public Information Officer, Corporal Mark Hoffman, at 302-736-7130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.