Delaware State Police

The Delaware State Police was formed in 1923 when a need to regulate and maintain safety on the state's highways and roadways soon became apparent.

Since 1917, the task of maintaining law and order on the First State's highways was left to the Highway Traffic Police who were hired by the State Highway Commission. In these early days the H.T.P. consisted of one officer whose sole function was to patrol the Philadelphia Pike near Wilmington. In the following year the force was increased to three men and three motorcycles. From 1920 to 1923 these men served directly under the State Highway Commission.

In 1925, the division realized the need for an increase in manpower and the inauguration of twenty-four hour service to provide increased protection and better service to the public. In the same year, the Canine Unit was first established to respond to an increase in prowler complaints. In 1931, the name of the organization , by act of the General Assembly, was officially changed from "State Highway Police" to "State Police".

A milestone was reached on May 29, 1957, with the first expansion of State Police facilities since 1925. On this date Troop 4A, now Troop 7, was opened to give better protection to the citizens of the beach areas. During the latter part of 1960, the State Police acquired its first fixed wing aircraft for traffic and criminal investigations. The year 1963, saw the initiation of 24 hour patrols of the Delaware Turnpike. In an effort to better serve the public, the State Police opened a new State Police sub-station, Troop 2A, (now Troop 6) on the Kirkwood Highway in 1964.

The 1970's saw the Delaware State Police providing the bulk of the manpower for a drug strike force within the state as well as the formation of a Special Weapons and Tactics unit in 1975. As an organization, the State Police has attempted to maintain a high standard of excellence within the framework of the current police technology. The Delaware State Police has made a number of great strides in progress since its inception in 1923. The Division of one officer has grown to over five hundred and addressing the problems and concerns for public safety continues to remain a priority.

Delaware State Flag

Adopted on July 24, 1913, the Delaware state flag has a background of colonial blue surrounding a diamond of buff color in which the coat of arms of the state is placed. Below the diamond are the words "December 7, 1787," indicating the day on which Delaware was the first state to ratify the United States constitution. Because of this action, Delaware became the first state in the Union, and is, therefore, accorded the first position in such national events as presidential inaugurations.

According to members of the original commission established to design the flag, the shades of buff and colonial blue represent those of the uniform of General George Washington. Inside the diamond, the flag recognizes the importance of commerce {the ship} and agriculture {wheat, corn, the ox and the farmer} to the state. Tribute is also paid to the Revolutionary War Soldiers. The words in the banner read Liberty and Independence.


Circa late 1950's- 1962 issue front plate.
Not technically an "official" DSP issue. Some troopers in the
southern part of the state had arranged via the state highway
department to have these made for the front of their patrol cars.
Applied decal letters to a regular state blank plate.

Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection

Picture courtesy of the Delaware State Police

1963-1968 issue. Reflective yellow-Gold over reflective dark blue. All flat. Used as a front plate only.


Picture courtesy of the Delaware State Police


Late 1960's-early 1970's front plate.

Courtesy of the Bob Bruce Collection
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1970's issue. Applied adhesive characters.

Courtesy of Bob Bruce Collection
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Passenger plate with 1975 Exempt sticker
and riveted numbers.

Picture courtesy of Paolo Valchi
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Passenger plate with 1974 Exempt sticker.
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this type plate on duty....
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Passenger plate with 1975 Exempt sticker
and riveted numbers.

Picture courtesy of Bill Ceravola
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1980's-90's Reflective gold over reflective dark blue. Deemed to be an "unofficial" front plate that troopers could obtain from the highway department. These were gradually phased-out to the plain passenger car plates used ever since on all Delaware SP vehicles.

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this type plate on duty....
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1985 Passenger plate with Exempt validation decal.
Most DSP patrol cars used these passenger plates
with regular passenger validation decals.
Confirmed DSP-use standard passenger plate.
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this type plate on duty....
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1986 Passenger plate with Exempt validation decal. Most DSP patrol cars used these passenger plates with regular passenger validation decals.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection

Picture courtesy of Jay Weinstein

2008 Front Plate
Explosives and Ordnance Disposal Team

Picture courtesy of Robert Ward

Picture courtesy of Robert Ward

1998 Commemorative Only. Not used on duty vehicles

 


1998 Commemorative Only. Not used on duty vehicles
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
 

Not used for official duty

 

The following plates were issued in the 1990's by the Delaware State Troopers Association to commemorate fallen comrades with the words: "DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR PUBLIC SAFETY"
 

Picture courtesy of the Delaware State Police
 
 

2005 issue from DSTA
 

Delaware State Troopers Association booster plate.
Not used on patrol vehicles.
Plate courtesy of the Robert Ward Collection
 

Attractive reflective issue for retired member.
Assumed to be used as a front plate for a personal vehicle
 

1998 Retired Delaware State Police officer. Has attractive logo of DSP Trooper in campaign hat with the words: STATE POLICE- RETIRED. Not too many retired troopers opted to advertise their former careers on personal vehicles they may have to leave unattended in public.

The Delaware State Police currently use regular
issue plates for their Motorcycle Unit.
Photo courtesy of Lt. Bruce VonGoerres,
Delaware State Police

Click image for a larger picture

License plate topper with reflective glass beads

Circa late 1950's-1960's license plate
attachment for DSP Auxiliary Officer.
Picture courtesy of
Cpl/2 Edward J. Sebastianelli, Delaware State Police