It’s been nearly 40 years since Jeffrey Giles last sat on a lifeguard stand in Rehoboth Beach, but the city’s new beach patrol captain said his five seasons as a member of the beach patrol in the early 1980s shaped how he approached his career as a state trooper.
There was a level of trust developed by the mentors, supervisors and friends from that time, said Giles, who was a supervisor for the maritime and scuba units during his Delaware State Police career. There was trust in one another that the job was going to get done, and that same attitude served him well as a state trooper, he said.
The city announced Giles as the new captain Jan. 28; he officially started Feb. 1. He said in the weeks since taking over, he’s contacted senior staff, begun looking over past practices, and started getting a sense of how many lifeguards will be returning.
So far, said Giles during an interview Feb. 17, the response from lifeguards has been great.
Giles said he doesn’t anticipate a tremendous amount of procedural change this summer. Instead, he said, he plans on watching how things work, picking the brains of senior staff and evaluating throughout the summer. There are a lot of ideas, but he said he wants to make sure they’re going to work first.
Giles is aware of the proposed charter change the city is working through that puts the beach patrol under the purview of the police department. He’s also aware the proposed change is the reason Kent Buckson resigned abruptly a few months ago after more than two decades as captain.
Giles said the situation didn’t give him any pause at all. He said he’s worked with Chief Keith Banks before, and other members of city staff have been very helpful.
“This was the perfect situation to come back to,” said Giles.
Public safety is a part of the beach patrol’s job, said Giles. The lifeguards are going to be focused on what’s happening in the surf, but there could be a problem that needs police attention, which is why it’s important to have a good relationship with the police department.
“Public safety is always going to be paramount. Part of that is recognizing a potential problem before it becomes a problem,” he said.
The Rehoboth Beach Patrol turns 100 this year. In addition to its practical operations, one of the things Giles said he’s already done is talk with members of the RBP alumni association. It’s going to be important to cultivate a culture that recognizes the history of the Rehoboth Beach Patrol, he said.
Beach patrol tryouts scheduled
Giles has scheduled three tryout sessions for the 2021 Rehoboth Beach Patrol season. The first is 9 a.m., Saturday, March 27, at the Lake Forest Aquatic Center, 5407 Killens Pond Road, Felton. The second is 11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 10, at Sussex Academy Aquatic Center, 2150 Airport Road, Georgetown. The third is 9:30 a.m., Saturday, April 17, at Concord High School Pool, 2501 Ebright Road, Wilmington.
For more information, a list of minimum requirements and an employment application, go to rehobothbeachpatrol.com or email email@example.com. To schedule a tryout at one of the sessions, call Giles at 302-258-4888.