Former State Police head sworn in as DOC Commissioner

By Amy Cherry 3:16pm, March 19, 2013 - Updated 3:23pm, March 19, 2013
Rob Coupe takes the oath of office and talks with WDEL's Amy Cherry about his new post.
The retired head of the Delaware State Police takes a top job in Governor Markell's cabinet.

WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

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From Colonel to Commissioner, Rob Coupe is sworn in to lead the embattled Department of Correction.

"I, Robert Coupe, do proudly swear to carry out the responsibilities of the office of Commissioner of the Department of Correction," says Coupe with his right hand raised.

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After taking the oath of office, he admits the job won't be easy.

"Personnel challenges, financial challenges with the programs that we fund to support the offenders - so that's going to be our challenge, working within the limitations of the budget and the resources and delivering the best services," says Coupe.

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The department came under public scrutiny last year for non-existent record keeping at an inmate day labor program in Sussex, and Coupe says he's on a mission to put the department back in a more positive light.

"It is very important that the public trust us; that they have faith in us and confidence in us. There is a lot of good work being done here, and that's what I want to showcase, and I want to earn the public's trust again," Coupe says.

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Coupe spent 28 years with State Police and became Colonel in 2009. He plans to use a similar leadership style that promotes more openness.

"When I say transparent, that means in the processes, so that people understand the decision making process. They're not always going to agree with you, but at least if they understand how you reached your decision, the hope is that they'll respect your decision. And then you also want to generate unity, you want to generate that cultural of accountability," says Coupe.

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