WPD History

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The Department of Police began on November 16, 1739, when the Charter of the Borough of Wilmington provided for “burgesses” to be the conservators of the peace. In the years following 1739, the City was policed by a group of High Constables, and then later by Police Officers under the direction of a Board of Commissioners. In 1891, this was organized into the Police Department under the direction of the Chief of Police and Commissioner of Public Safety.

Today, our Department has one Chief of Police, two Inspectors, eight Captains, thirteen Lieutenants, forty Sergeants, one hundred forty-four Corporals, and one hundred three Patrol Officers. There is a support staff of over seventy civilians who contribute to the operation of the Department. The Wilmington Department of Police offers its employees the opportunity for a stimulating and challenging career in law enforcement.

The Wilmington Department of Police is the largest urban police agency in the State of Delaware. City policing is a dynamic, changing discipline that offers an opportunity for the officer to become involved in the many and varied facets of life in a modern urban community. The detection and suppression of crime are important responsibilities of a Wilmington Police Officer. The Department embraces a community-policing philosophy and expects our officers to become involved in community affairs, youth assistance programs, and other interactions with the people we serve. Community involvement in providing public safety is an essential element in City policing.

The Department of Police is located in the downtown area of Wilmington, in the heart of the Christina Gateway. This facility enhances our accessibility to the public and provides an excellent forum for the community to participate in our programs.

The Wilmington Department of Police offers many opportunities for training and service in the specialized law enforcement positions, such as: Criminal Investigations Division; Evidence Detection Unit; Traffic Division; Juvenile Unit; Financial Crimes Unit; Drug, Organized Crime and Vice Division; Special Operations Division, and others.

Additionally, there are many administrative functions within the organization. The Department provides all required training towards advancement and career enhancement. Initial service as a uniformed patrol officer in the Patrol Division is required.

Officers are sent to various schools, universities, and colleges for training on police-related fields. Many of these seminars have been responsible for providing the necessary input for developing new and more efficient ways of performing police work. After four years of service, officers are eligible to compete in the promotional system.