By Tom Lehman 8:20pm, February 17, 2013 - Updated 9:15pm, February 18, 2013
Acting Colonel Elmer Setting discusses the 100th anniversary celebrationThe New Castle County Police department celebrates the day its first officer began his patrols 100 years ago.
The ceremony, held at the county's Public Safety Building, recognized the milestone with a 100-year Roll Call for the evening shift patrol squad and presentation of commemorative badges to officers.
Acting Col. Elmer Setting told officers that the event helped to honor all the members of its force for their dedication.
"It's a tough job and to stand here at the 100-year mark, I must say I'm humbled and I'm proud to wear this badge with the rest of you," he said.
The ceremony was attended by County Executive Tom Gordon, who read a proclamation honoring the department, and members of County Council, who presented a resolution to recognize the milestone.
County Council's resolution recognized Daniel Knight, the first officer of the county rural police, who was hired in 1913 and first assigned to school crossing guard duties. He was paid a salary of $2 a day, or $730 a year.
That same year, the county highway police agency was also formed, which county council recognized as marking the progression that would eventually lead to the organization of the modern department.
Since then, the department has grown from 22 officers to 370 and became the second largest police force in the state, serving more than 500,000 people.
"We're the agency that when you're in your community and you calling 9-1-1, this is the uniform you're going to see and those people expect professional service," Setting says.
The commemorative badges presented to officers are representative of both the department's past and present, Setting says.
"That's part of what made it very nostalgic, was going back to the silver badge but it has the gold in it that is really nice looking against the brown uniform," he says.
The department will also host a centennial celebration on May 4.
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