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The Delaware State Police Museum

Dover, Delaware

  • traffic pointers Don't forget the video at the end!
Delaware State Police Delaware State Police Delaware State Police Delaware State Police

The Delaware State Police (DSP) is a division of the Delaware Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security and is responsible for traffic regulation and law enforcement across the state of Delaware, especially in areas underserved by local police departments. The DSP is headquartered in the state's capital Dover, Delaware.

Interest in establishing a state police force began in Delaware shortly after the turn of the century. The Every Evening Journal relates that, "in 1906 a movement had been inaugurated looking toward the establishment of a state police force in Delaware to do duty in rural districts." An October 17, 1906, newspaper account of a disturbance in Middletown to which Wilmington City policemen were called cites the need for a state police force to maintain peace within the undeveloped areas of the state.

Before the Delaware State Police was formed in 1923, the first traffic law enforcement officers were called the "Highway Traffic Police". Started in 1919, the HTP 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. Prior to the formation of state police the areas between unincorporated districts were served by the county sheriff department.

To supplement the workload of the small force of paid constabulary, the highway commission authorized the use of a citizen's highway police from 1921 to 1923. This force was comprised of a group of unpaid volunteers who served for a period of three months. While on duty they were empowered to enforce the same laws as their paid counterparts. As construction of paved highways was begun and registered motor vehicles began to rise, a need to regulate and maintain safety soon became apparent. On April 23, 1923, the General Assembly, at the request of the State Highway Department, enacted two laws that created the Delaware State Police. This date marks the official organization of the present law enforcement organization.

For 80 years the Delaware State Police have proudly served their state. At the museum you will be able to share their history with state of the art museum exhibits and educational facilities.

This museum displays exhibits including firearms, a 1946 Ford patrol car, two antique Harley Davidson motorcycles, a crime scene where visitors look for clues, and a 911 emergency call center.

Monday - Friday: 9am - 3pm
Every 3rd Saturday 11am - 3pm

Delaware State Police Museum
1425 North Dupont Highway
Dover, Delaware

A Tour of the Delaware State Police Museum