Law Enforcement Careers in Delaware

One of the reasons men and women choose to devote their careers to law enforcement is the gratification that results from making a positive difference in the lives of the citizens they serve.

This is certainly the case in Wilmington, Delaware, which had been dubiously named Murder Capital USA for decades and is now experiencing a steady decline of violent crimes thanks to the tireless work of the officers of the Wilmington Police Department. Violent crime here has always been a sobering reality, but an increase in police spending and the implementation of new police strategies have resulted in a downward trend for the violent crime rate. In fact, 2022 crime stats here show a 60% drop in violent crime in the last six years.

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There’s still much work to be done in Wilmington and throughout the state, but for those lucky enough to serve on the front lines, whether at the state, municipal, or county level, it’s an exciting and fulfilling career that offers something you won’t find anywhere else.

Jobs with the Delaware State Police

The Delaware State Police (DSP), which is part of the Delaware Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security, operates eight barracks (troops) and a central headquarters in Dover. All counties in the state have one troop of both uniformed patrol officers and detective units. The Delaware State Police investigate more than 33,000 criminal complaints every year.

The Delaware State Police, which is responsible for traffic regulation and law enforcement throughout the state, is organized into the following specialized units/bureaus: Forensic Firearms Services Unit; Canine Unit; Aviation Unit; SCUBA unit; Crime Lab; Honor Guard; Traffic Section; Tactical Control Unit; Intelligence Unit; and Homicide Unit, just to name a few.

Candidates for state trooper jobs in Delaware must have a high school diploma or GED, a valid driver’s license, and at least 60 credits from an accredited state college. They must also pass a written exam and a physical fitness evaluation.

Jobs with Municipal Police Departments in Delaware

Outstanding efforts among Delaware’s municipal police departments have resulted in plummeting violent crime throughout the state, including Dover, which experienced a 21% drop in violent crime between 2015 and 2019, according to FBI statistics.

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The Wilmington Police Department employs 315 police officers who patrol on foot, in vehicles, and on bicycles.

Candidates for police officer jobs here must be at least 21 years of age and must possess a high school diploma/GED and a valid Delaware driver’s license. The hiring process includes passing a series of assessments, including physical ability, written, oral, and polygraph exams.


The Dover Police Department, which serves more than 37,000 people, operates as a full-service department that provides the following services:

  • Community Policing
  • Patrol
  • Criminal Investigations
  • 9-1-1 Center
  • Special Enforcement
  • Emergency Services

All police officer candidates here must be a U.S. citizen, must be at least 21 years of age, and must possess a high school diploma/GED and valid driver’s license. The hiring process includes passing a physical abilities test and written examination and interviewing with the police board and chief of police.


The Newark, Delaware Police Department has a police force made up of 91 officers tasked with apprehending offenders, enforcing state and local laws, performing criminal investigations, promoting traffic safety, and conducting preventative patrol activities.

To qualify for academy training, candidates for police officer jobs in Newark must provide proof of citizenship, be at least 21 years of age, and have a valid driver’s license and no felony convictions.

Jobs with County Sheriff’s Departments in Delaware

The state of Delaware has three counties: New Castle, Kent, and Sussex. While deputy sheriffs in Kent and Sussex serve as peace officers and do not have the authority to make arrests, the New Castle County Sheriff’s Office serves as an accredited police department. It is the second largest police department in Delaware and is supported by local municipal police agencies in Newport, Elsmere, Delaware City, Middletown, Newark, Wilmington, and New Castle.

To become a sheriff’s deputy with the New Castle County Sheriff’s Office, applicants must be able to pass a written exam, oral interview, medical examination and drug screening, and a background investigation that includes a psychological evaluation.

Delaware Law Enforcement Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), law enforcement officers in Delaware earned an average salary of $80,620 as of May 2021.

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The following police/sheriff’s department salary data was sourced from May 2021 BLS stats (early career = 25th percentile, senior/late career = 90th percentile).

Police Officer Salaries

The average starting salary for police officers among Delaware’s largest police departments is $63,000.

Dover Police Department

Police officers with the Dover Police Department earn a post-academy starting salary of about $61,970. After three years of service, officers earn a salary that’s commensurate with their level of education.

Wilmington Police Department

The starting salary for police officers with the Wilmington Police Department is about $65,440.

Sheriff’s Deputy Salaries

The police officers of the New Castle County Office of the Sheriff earn a salary of between $65,440 and $105,540.

State Trooper and State Police Salaries

State troopers with the Delaware State police earn a salary of between $64,800 and $105,540.

2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for police and sheriff’s patrol officers. Job growth projections from the US Department of Labor-sponsored resource, Projections Central. Figures are based on state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2022