Delaware police officer’s death, deja vu for Georgetown PD

It’s been two years since Georgetown Police Officer Chad Spicer was killed in the line of duty, but still raw emotions resurfaced following New Castle County Police Lieutenant Joe Szczerba’s death last week.

44-year-old Szczerba was killed on the job late Thursday night, after responding to a disorderly conduct call involving a suspect who police linked to an earlier car break-in and assault.

“I was shocked and very saddened that something so minor caused something so major,” said Chief William Topping, head of Georgetown’s Police Department in Sussex County. “It’s senseless to me.”

Chief Topping attended Lt. Szczerba’s funeral at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington Friday. Initially, he said, when he heard the news, he thought, “Not again.”

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On Sept. 1, 2009, Chief Topping learned one of his own officers, Patrolman Chad Spicer, was shot and killed.

“We cannot just sympathize, but we can empathize with what a lot of guys and officers in the New Castle County Police Department are feeling right now — to have one of their own officers go down in the line of duty,” he said.

Topping says he spoke with New Castle County’s Colonel Michael McGowan the day after Lt. Szczerba was killed. During that conversation, as a show of support, Topping said he shared how his officers, their families and members of the community came together when Chad was murdered.

“The entire police community in Delaware is suffering this loss with them… It can happen to any one of us, and we all know that, and that’s why we all come together and honor the people that have been taken from us.”

See First‘s story from February about how Georgetown continues to heal following Officer Chad Spicer’s death below.

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