New Castle County gets new police chief

A 21-year veteran of the New Castle County police department will become its Police Chief – while retaining the job of Public Safety Director.

Scott McLaren was selected by County Executive Paul Clark to fill the vacancy.  If confirmed by New Castle County Council, McLaren would replace former chief, Colonel Michael McGowan.  McGowan announced his retirement from law enforcement in September to become the New Castle County director for US Senator Chris Coons. 

“We are very fortunate to have someone with Scott’s experience and knowledge to lead our police force at this time,” Clark said.  “He’s a strong leader with an extensive background in law enforcement and public safety, and I believe he is ideally suited to move our police agency forward in its mission to keep our citizens safe.” 

The 49-year-old McLaren rose through the ranks of the police force to become its first lieutenant colonel ever in 2003.  He also served as acting police chief from 2005 to 2006.  In 2009, McLaren joined Wilmington University as assistant director of campus safety and assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences, then had an eight-month stint as Elsmere Police Chief. 

McLaren said he was looking forward to the new responsibilities as well as continuing to work with his fellow officers.  “Day in and day out they prove they are the best of the best and I feel privileged to be associated with such a professional and courageous group of officers,” McLaren added.

McLaren has been the county’s Public Safety Director since March, overseeing police, paramedic operations, 911 communications and emergency management functions.  It’s the largest sector of county government with an $80-million budget and more than 600 authorized positions.  The police department has 364 authorized positions.

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