A new class of 10 officers took the pledge to protect and serve Delawareans as the newest Delaware State Police Troopers.

A new class of 10 officers took the pledge to protect and serve Delawareans as the newest Delaware State Police Troopers.

Honor, courage, integrity and service were among the morals detailed in the officers’ oaths, taken before friends and family at the Polytech Conference Center last Thursday, Dec. 1.

For the first time in the agency’s history, each officer in the academy was already a certified officer with another department in Delaware or a surrounding state.

DSP was approved to hire the emergency class in order to quickly backfill staffing required for the overtime in Wilmington's violent crime initiative.

Dubbed the fast-tracker class, the members of Class 83B completed a five-week training program that tested both their physical and mental abilities.

“We called them ‘Fast and Furious,’ because it was just that  — it was very fast and very furious,” said Capt. Robert Hawkins Jr., Director of Training for the Delaware State Police. “But they did an excellent job and the most important thing is they came together as a team very quickly, which impressed us all. We’re very pleased with the product we’re putting out today.”

The Woodside ceremony included words from State Prosecutor Kathleen Jennings, Delaware State Police Col. Robert Coupe and Secretary of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security Lewis Schiliro.

Schiliro said each of the officers earned the badges they would receive that night.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the strength of any organization lies in the diversity of its people. Today the Delaware State Police became a whole lot stronger,” he said. “I know that when I’m sitting in the rocking chair five or six years from now, I will continue to read about you as you become the leaders of this department.”

Honoring those lost

The officers and guests in attendance took time to remember New Castle County Police Lt. Joseph Szczerba, who was killed in the line of duty Sept. 16.

Coupe said Szczerba’s death is a stark reminder that life is short and encouraged the officers to keep that in mind.

“It is very important that we make the most of the time we have, not only to do the best we can in our jobs but to the best we can in our relationships with our families and our friends,” he said.

Many were also thinking that night of Chad Spicer, a Georgetown Police officer killed in the line of duty in 2009. Chad’s parents, Norman and Ruth Ann, and his 6-year-old daughter, Aubrey, attended the ceremony to support the graduates.

Ruth Ann said Troopers Brock Adkins and Joseph Harmon, who both graduated with Class 83B were good friends of Chad’s.

“We’re very proud of them,” Ruth Ann said.

Looking to the future

Class Speaker Patrick Jackson thanked the training instructors for passing on their wisdom and experience.

“Class 83B will not leave here today and forget what we’ve been taught,” he said. “Instead we will leave with the challenge to train, retrain and then train some more because our lives or the lives of a fellow police officer could depend on this training in a real life situation.”

Jackson passed along a few words of advice he received from a retired trooper, who cautioned him from using the words “always” and “never,” but said there are exceptions.

“He said to always do the right thing, always treat people with respect, never forget where you came from and never forget who’s rooting for you,” he said. “Thank you all for rooting for us.”