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Saluting Delaware's newest police

Emily Lytle * Delaware
elytle@doverpost.com
Dover Post

After almost six months at the Delaware State Police Academy, training in everything from firearms to first aid, 49 officers graduated in a ceremony at Dover High School March 4.

The graduates included 25 state troopers and 24 police officers representing Delaware River & Bay Authority, Dover Police Department, Georgetown Police Department, Newark Police Department, University of Delaware Police Department, Seaford Police Department, Smyrna Police Department and South Bethany Police Department.

Gov. John Carney was the first to speak and congratulate the class. “You should be proud of yourselves, and as your governor, I’m certainly proud of each of you and grateful for your service,” he said.

Trooper Nicholas Geannakakes gave the class speech and commented on the camaraderie and trust the officers built together. “I look forward to the coming challenge that is our careers,” he said. “And I can think of no finer group of brothers and sisters to share it with.” He would later receive the Governor’s Outstanding Recruit Trooper Award.

Known for his love of quotes, Robert M. Coupe, secretary of state Department of Safety and Homeland Security and former head of the state police, prompted laughter from the packed auditorium as he quoted Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series. He talked about the choice between what is right and easy. “I also want you to remember the importance of moral courage. The moral courage to always do the right thing,” he said.

Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, Attorney General Kathleen Jennings, Acting Secretary of DSHS Kimberly Chandler and Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr., superintendent of the state police, all gave speeches to the class.

Awards were presented for fitness, firearms proficiency and embodying law enforcement core values. Some were dedicated by the secretary of safety and homeland security, attorney general, police chief’s council and governor.

Note: DSHS Secretary Robert Coupe plans to join the Department of Justice, the state has announced. Gov. John Carney said he intends to nominate Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr. of the state police to the cabinet post.

Award recipients

  • Governor’s Outstanding Recruit Trooper Award: Trooper Nicholas Geannakakes, Delaware State Police
  • The Attorney General’s Award for Legal Excellence: Officer Ashley Melis, Seaford Police Department
  • The Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security Award: Trooper Luke Justice, Delaware State Police
  • The Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council Award: Patrolman Daniel Burgos, Seaford Police Department
  • The Delaware State Police Academy Law Enforcement Core Values Award: Officer Jamel Howard, University of Delaware Police Department
  • The Outstanding Proficiency in Police Firearms Award: Trooper Nicholas Greannakakes, Delaware State Police, and Patrolman Troy Wolford, Georgetown Police Department
  • The Delaware State Police Academy Physical Fitness Award: Trooper Cameron Drake, Delaware State Police, and Patrolman Dylan Keller, Smyrna Police Department