A century ago the Delaware legislature formed the Delaware State Police to regulate and maintain safety on the state’s highways and roadways. In 1917 the Highway Traffic Police formed with the objective of having one officer patrolling the Philadelphia Pike (Route 13 along the Delaware River) during daylight hours. In 1918 the Highway Traffic Police expanded to four patrolmen each with a motorcycle. By 1925, increased traffic monitoring requirements transformed the organization into a 24-hour service that included a Canine Unit. The organization returned to its Delaware State Police name in 1931 and continued to expand in responsibilities, personnel, and capabilities over the ensuing decades.
Today, there are 35 divisions within the Delaware State Police. For Kent and Sussex counties the Delaware State Police provide primary law-enforcement except where a municipality provides their own law enforcement. In New Castle County the Delaware State Police share law-enforcement with the New Castle County Police and local municipality police forces.
In recognition of the Delaware State Police’s 100th anniversary, Republican Minority Leader Mike Ramone from the 21st District (Pike Creek) introduced a bill to acknowledge and honor state police officers’ service. What was the context of Ramone’s acknowledgement that required enacting through legislation? Hint: The results of Ramone’s action are included in the above image of State Police uniform designs and the look of the police vehicles of the past century.
House Bill 100 amended Title 21 of the Delaware Code relating to Special License Plates to create a unique plate for Delaware State Police officers to display on their patrol cars. The Bill dictates the license plate shall begin with the prefix “ST.” The plates are a reverse of Delaware’s traditional blue & gold license plate design with the letters in blue and the plate’s background color of gold. The DE State Police logo is to the left and there is no expiration sticker assigned. The plates carry a $10 initial registration fee and may only be granted to an officer upon request at the discretion of the Superintendent of the State Police who is currently Colonel Melissa Zeebley, the first woman to head the Delaware State Police.
Drive safely and let us hope your first time seeing one of the new plates is not due to you are being stopped for a traffic infraction! For a more complete history of the evolution of Delaware State Police automobile license plates visit: www.statetrooperplates.com/delaware.html