Delaware State Police Major Nathaniel McQueen was promoted to colonel and sworn in as the first African American superintendent of state police during the change of command ceremony held Thursday at his alma mater, Delaware State University.
Gov. Jack Markell, Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Lew Schiliro and outgoing Delaware State Police Col, Robert Coupe joined McQueen for the official state ceremony held in the DSU Martin Luther King Student Center.
As McQueen's wife, Freda, held the Bible and his children, Nathan and Nayla, stood by his side, Markell swore him in as the 25th superintendent of State Police. Markell and McQueen's family then pinned the eagle insignia, per tradition, upon the colonel.
McQueen and Coupe next conducted the change of command salute ritual, and the transfer of power was complete.
Coupe retired with 28 years as a state trooper, the last three and a half years as superintendent. Markell praised Coupe for his leadership in bringing stability and transparency to Delaware State Police.
McQueen is a 24-year veteran of the State Police. He had served as the major of operations for all New Castle County troops since 2009.
Markell praised Coupe and his executive staff for Coupe serving with distinction, professionalism, integrity and transparence.
He added that Schiliro was certain McQueen was far and away qualified to become the state's next top cop.
"When it comes to a colonel, people expect a leader with integrity, with character and with good judgment," Markell said. "When I announced that then Major McQueen would become the next colonel, I said that he was a strong manager with a reputation of being able to relate to everybody. He is well known, well respected and well liked."
During brief remarks, McQueen thanked his family for its support and thanked the governor and the secretary for this opportunity.
He said he would strengthen State Police's community partnerships, utilize state-of-the-art technology to improve investigations and to take a proactive approach to preventing crime.
"Our priority continues to be an issue at the forefront of our communities," he said. "We must make a concerted effort to target violent criminals that continue to prey on our communities. The responsibility for crime reduction needs to be shared by the police department and the community."
McQueen earned a Master of Science in social work from Delaware State University and a Bachelor of Science in behavioral science from Wilmington University. He is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy — known as the West Point of law enforcement. Before joining the Delaware State Police, he served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps.