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2005 NAUMD State Agency Winner

Written by Donna Pierson

Delaware State Police
Dover, DE


History states, “The roaring twenties gave birth to the Delaware State Police. With cars speeding at 35 miles per hour, roving bands of troublemakers, and bootleggers, a need to regulate and maintain safety soon became apparent, to the citizens.” The result of these factors led to the beginning of a State Police force in Delaware. Many of the state police departments have strong and interesting histories, some of which established traditions within their uniform design. For the men and women of The Delaware State Police department their uniform finds it origins on a fateful day in April of 1923.

These days in the summer months, a Delaware trooper can be seen wearing a midnight blue, poly/wool blended trouser that has a one-inch gold side stripe sewn within the side seam. The French blue poly/wool blend shirt is set off against the dark trousers, and is completed with gold buttons stamped with the state seal. Buttons are issued to the officers directly and are placed upon the shirt by the officers, to ensure that only “OFFICIAL” officers wears the uniform. The shirt has pleated breast pockets with a button closure. The shirt also has three stitched military pleats on the back and two on the front. The uniform is completed with a black leather duty belt and for the formal uniform a “Sam Browne” strap is added to the belt. Sam Browne belts are a combination of a pistol belt or garrison belt and a shoulder strap (and D-ings). The Sam Browne belt was named after General Sir Samuel J. Browne, 1824-1901, of the British Army in India.) The strap was intended to help carry the weight of a heavy pistol.

The color combination of the formal winter Class A uniform is a true winner. Troopers wear French blue trousers with the same striking gold side stripe, in a three-ply weight poly/wool blend fabric. The shirt is long sleeved in French blue and is worn with a dark navy tie. The uniform is completed with a hip length single-breasted jacket in dark navy with gold buttons and French blue shoulder epaulets. All uniforms are finished with a navy campaign hat bearing a gold shield with the state seal.

Superintendent, Colonel Thomas F. Mac Leish proudly stated, “The uniform is a consistent and daily reminder of the tradition upon which the current Delaware State Police was founded. Many of the components in the current uniform, such as the ‘boots and britches,’ come from the original uniform, which dates back to April 23, 1923. The uniforms are a consistent and daily reminder of the state and the citizens our troopers serve; this is evident in the patch and badge worn on each uniform, bearing the seal of the State of Delaware. It is my hope, that visitors and citizens of Delaware recognize the uniform of the State Delaware Police as a symbol of professionalism, fairness, high ethical standards and dedicated public service officers.”

Congratulations to the Dealers and Manufacturers who helped create this winning uniform program: custom-made uniforms from Red The Uniform Tailor, Gortex jackets from Blauer Manufacturing, footwear from Bates Uniform Footwear, headgear from Stratton and additional items from Graves Uniforms a dealer in Lewes, DE.

To learn more about the unique history of the Delaware State Police, visit their website, which even contains pictures of past uniforms.

Published in Law and Order, Oct 2005

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