DOVER — The protection and service component begins today for 38 new law enforcement officers.
On Friday afternoon, however, it was time to salute them for graduating from the Delaware State Police Academy after a challenging 22-week training program.
As dignitaries addressed the 89th Delaware State Police class and 81st municipal class at Delaware State University’s Education Humanities Building auditorium, dedication to family and service were often mentioned as requirements for a fulfilling law enforcement career.
Starting off a list of several characteristics needed to be a leader, keynote speaker U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Loretta Reynolds counseled new officers to take care of themselves first by always setting an example for others.
Then, she said, “Train yourself to think, then react.”
Other needed virtues included treating people with sincerity, listening skills, professionally curious and always questions, seek humor, never strip people of their dignity and to “strengthen the team and don’t worry about your role or who gets the credit.”
Chosen by her class to make remarks, Trooper Jennifer L. Hastings said, “This has been an adventure of many sorts ... There was conflict at times and emotions ran high at times, but in the end we always worked as a team.”
Interacting properly with the public was another theme of the ceremony, especially in a time of stress evident in many facets of police work.
“This is a profession of honor, dignity, and pride,” Department of Safety and Homeland Security Secretary James Mosley said.
“Remember compassion and when interacting with the public give respect and you will get that back.”
Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn thanked atTAcK addiction founder Don Keister and reminded new officers that support from their family was a huge factor in pushing them through to graduation from the academy.
Before badges were pinned on the new officers about 90 minutes into the ceremony, several awards were given, including:
• Governor’s Outstanding Recruit Trooper Award, Trooper Jamal J. Merrell
• Delaware Police Chief’s Council Award, Officer William C. Matthews, University of Delaware Police
• Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security Award, Trooper Jennifer L. Hastings
• Director of the State Police Academy, Law Enforcement Core Values Award, Officer AnnMarie Dalton —Ocean View PD
• Attorney General’s Award for Legal Excellence, officer Edgar A. Verde — Georgetown PD
• Outstanding Proficiency in Police Firearms Award, Trooper Jamal J. Merrell, Officer Jon C. Lee, Newark PD.
• Delaware State Police Academy Physical Fitness Award, Trooper Christopher S. Solda, officer Ryan D. Hastings, Newark