CAMDEN — Straw mingles with thin grass in front of the new Delaware State Police Troop 3.
Wooden stakes hold up fledgling trees throughout the property.
The approximately 100 troopers still are settling into the 31,000-square-foot facility that went operational Nov. 19.
On a chilly, breezy Friday afternoon that was more typical for December than the recent warm spell, a crowd of 100 or more onlookers arrived for a ribbon cutting and 35-minute ceremony at 3759 S. State St.
“It’s always a good day for opening a new troop, a good day for the men and women of the Delaware State Police.” said state police Superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr. as he shrugged off the cold as seemingly insignificant compared to the historic day at hand.
Constructed at a cost of $16.9 million, the new troop was described as a state of the art facility that has troopers “walking a bit taller and smiling a bit more even for troopers,” according to Col. McQueen.
Gov. Jack Markell lauded the Kent County legislators for working to make the project happen. Former state police Col. Robert M. Coupe, who attended the ceremony, prioritized expanding local facilities shortly after becoming the agency’s superintendent in 2009.
Previously, staff members were crammed into facilities not sized for a growing Kent County population. The state police barracks have had five prior locations in Dover.
Markell, when running through his schedule with wife Carla beforehand, said the trip to a new Troop 3 drew her attention because from past visits she “couldn’t believe how those troopers were on top of each other and had no space.”
James Mosley, secretary of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security who oversees state police operations, said the facility “opens a new door for policing in this community.”
The new complex is situated on 20 acres. It includes office space, eight interview rooms, six temporary holding cells, three temporary detention rooms, a fingerprint facility, evidence processing and storage area, a patrol officer resource room, a patrol officer roll call room, a fitness room, and a 7,000 square foot maintenance facility/evidence storage which includes a four-bay garage with two vehicle lifts, according to the state police when announcing the opening in November.
Also, a large community room is the first of its kind for a southern troop, Col. McQueen said.
Commonwealth Construction Co. of Wilmington and A-Del Construction of Newark (site work) were the primary builders of the facility designed by the Becker Morgan Group architectural firm of Dover.