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In 1911, the Levy Court of New Castle County was authorized to appoint two police each for Brandywine and Christiana Hundred. The officers were given powers equal to constables and were to preserve the peace.1 By 1923, the Levy Court was authorized a superintendent and twelve patrolmen, in addition to the aforementioned police.2 However, in 1935 the State Highway Department took over control of all highways in the state, including the county highways, which lessened the need for county patrolmen.3 by the late 1930’s, the number of rural police was again two each for Brandywine and Christiana Hundred. The four policemen, along with sixteen ambulance drivers and one registered nurse were all supervised by the county engineer.4
Rapid population growth in New Castle County prompted an increase in force size to four per hundred in 1937,5 followed by four new officers for New Castle Hundred in 1949,6 and four officers for Mill Creek Hundred in 1953.7
New Castle County government was reorganized in 1965,8 creating a Department of Police, headed by a Director of Police. The Department was charged with:
– organizing and administering the police force
– enforcing traffic regulations and investigating accidents
– legal searches and seizures
– operating a lockup
– maintaining the peace
– providing school crossing guard service when necessary
– operating an adequate communications system.
Some questions of jurisdiction eventually arose and in 1975,9 the State Police were given the ultimate jurisdiction in cases of homicide, suicide, kidnapping, rape, and any deaths involving an investigation by the medical examiner.
In 1974, the New Castle County Council was permitted by law to subsequently establish and prescribe any functions for new or changing county agencies.10 Presently, the New Castle County Police are part of the New Castle County Department of Public Safety, which is comprised of Administrative Offices; the Operations Branch; the Uniform Section; the Ambulance Division; and the Emergency Communications Division.

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1 26 DL, ch. 28.

2 33 DL, ch. 93.

3 40 DL, ch. 107.

4 26 DL, ch. 28.

5 41 DL, ch. 123.

6 47 DL, ch. 310.

7 49 DL, ch. 59.

8 55 DL, ch. 85.

9 60 DL, ch. 103.

10 59 DL, ch. 414.
JRF; April 6, 1989; April 12, 1989

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