Death of Delaware police officer shadows police graduation ceremony

Police graduation ceremonies are usually filled with jokes about tough instructors, but Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn suggested that the death of Sgt. Joseph Szczerba changed all that.

There were numerous references to Sgt. Szczerba along with a tribute of bagpipes playing amazing grace as family, friends, and dignitaries gathered to honor the 83rd Delaware State Police and the 74th Municipal police graduating class.

U.S. Senator Chris Coons was the keynote speaker.  He said everyone should still consider the day “positive and uplifting”, although he did acknowledge that it was an “emotional day in the law enforcement family.”

Coons said in his 10 years as New Castle County Executive he was “thankful he never had to go through a day like today.”  He called Sgt. Szczerba courageous and called his death, “a meaningful loss.  He responded to a dangerous situation.  He died a hero.”

Denn pointed out that there are only 2,000 police officers in Delaware.  He added, “this is Delaware.  There isn’t anyone who doesn’t know a Szczerba.”

The officials who attended the ceremony commended the new class for their dedication in taking on a difficult assignment.  There were 14 troopers who graduated in the 83rd Delaware State Police class.  The 74th Municipal Police class had another 17 graduates.  Among them were 5 new members of the Newark Police Dept., 3 heading to Milton, 4 in Dover, 2 assigned to DNREC, and one each for the Capitol police, and Frankford and Harrington police departments.

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