Police partnership key to reopening historic pavilion at Redden State Forest

Fish & Wildlife, Delaware State Police, Delaware Forest Service
From left, Sgt. Brooke Africa of the Delaware Natural Resources Police, TFC Heidi Lingo of the Delaware State Police (Bridgeville Troop #5) and State Forester Michael A. Valenti get set to reopen the historic CCC Camp Picnic Pavilion on the Jester Tract at Redden State Forest in Georgetown. The site was closed in early 2017 due to persistent illegal activity. Officials hope increased patrols, brighter lighting, and 24-hour video surveillance will deter crime.

GEORGETOWN, Del. – A partnership with the Delaware State Police and the Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police is helping the Delaware Forest Service reopen its historic picnic pavilion at Redden State Forest that was closed in early 2017 due to persistent illegal activity.

“This historic pavilion was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and remains an important part of Redden State Forest’s heritage. Though we regret we had to close this area for an extended period, public safety will always be paramount to the Delaware Forest Service. That’s why we are grateful to members in the General Assembly and our partners at the Delaware State Police and Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police – their support is helping us reopen this area for continued recreation and enjoyment,” State Forester Michael A. Valenti said.

Delaware State Police, Fish & Wildlife, Forest Service
From left, TFC Heidi Lingo of the Delaware State Police (Bridgeville #5) joins Sgt. Brooke Africa of the Delaware Natural Resources Police and State Forester Michael A. Valenti to help reopen the historic CCC Camp Picnic Pavilion on the Jester Tract at Redden State Forest in Georgetown. The site is reopening this week after being closed since January of 2017 due to persistent illegal activity and lewd behavior in the area. Along with increased law enforcement patrols, site upgrades include brighter parking lot lights and 24-hour video surveillance.

Video camera sign
Security at the Redden Forest pavilion will include 24-hour video surveillance.

 

The parking lot and rest area – popular with hikers and horseback riders – now features bright lighting, 24-hour video surveillance, and regular patrols by both marked and undercover law enforcement personnel. Along with these enhanced security measures, new signage reminds visitors that the site is closed from dusk to dawn.

“We are proud to join the Forest Service and State Police in making this pavilion a safe place for families and visitors to enjoy Delaware’s scenic beauty and natural environment,” said Sgt. Brooke Africa of the Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “Everyone should be aware that – thanks to stepped-up patrols and vigorous enforcement – it will not be a welcoming place for anyone planning to engage in criminal conduct.”

Redden Forest historic Pavilion
The historic pavilion on the Jester Tract at Redden State Forest looks much like it did when it was first built in the 1930s by Civilian Conservation Corps work crews during the Great Depression.

Officials are asking anyone who observes suspicious or illegal activity at the site to report it immediately by calling 911.

“The Delaware State Police and the Delaware Forest Service are committed to restoring this rest area to its proper use as a family-friendly place at our beautiful state forest. This reopening shows how law enforcement agencies can work together to preserve our natural areas while also protecting the public. We hope that everyone will join our efforts by keeping alert to suspicious activity and reporting it immediately by calling 911,” said Sgt. Richard Bratz of the Delaware State Police.

Redden State Forest totals 12,924 acres and includes a variety of recreational activities from hunting to horseback riding. Three of its buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the Horse Barn, Ranger’s House, and Redden Forest Lodge – all of which date back to the early 1900s when executives and guests of the Pennsylvania Railroad came to the forest on hunting trips. Visitors arrived by train at the nearby Redden Station and traveled to the lodge by horse and carriage.


Travel Advisory for Friday, May 5, 2017

The Delaware State Police (DSP) and Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) are advising motorists to expect travel delays throughout the morning and early afternoon hours of Friday, May 5, 2017, due to the funeral services for Corporal Grade 1 Stephen J. Ballard.

DSP and DelDOT have issued the following specific information regarding road closures. Please plan accordingly for your commute. Non-essential state employees may request approval in advance to use accrued annual leave or flex their schedule, if operationally feasible, in order to avoid the anticipated heavy traffic time periods. Essential state employees report as scheduled.

  • The northbound lanes of I-95 between the Christiana Mall (Exit 4A) and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard (Exit 6) will be closed beginning at 6 a.m. and will be opened after the procession of emergency vehicles to travel to the Chase Center on the Riverfront; additionally a second closure of the northbound lanes between the Christiana Mall (Exit 4A) and the Martin Luther King Jr, Boulevard (Exit 6) will be closed beginning at 8 a.m. for the last procession of emergency vehicles to travel to the Chase Center on The Riverfront.

 

  • Northbound I-95 traffic will be significantly impacted and will be utilizing alternate routes of DE 896, US 40, DE 273, and US 13; motorists can expect delays on these routes with the increased diverted volume of traffic.

 

  • The funeral procession will then depart the Riverfront at approximately 12 p.m. and travel to the Gracelawn Cemetery located at 2220 North DuPont Highway, New Castle.

 

  • The procession is scheduled to use the following route:
    • Justison Street – Martin Luther King Boulevard – South Market Street – North DuPont Highway – Lovelace Avenue (U-turn) to Gracelawn Memorial Cemetery.

 

  • DART will be offering free shuttle service from the Route 273 and Route 7 Park & Ride to the Chase Center at the Wilmington Riverfront beginning at 7 a.m. and ending at 9 a.m. Return service to the Park & Ride from the Chase Center will between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

 

  • DART will also be adjusting regular bus services to avoid road closures. Delays can be expected. Commuters can also use SEPTA’s Wilmington/Newark Line from Newark and Fairplay Stations to avoid delays. Visit www.dartfirststate.com for more details.

 

  • Members of the public wishing to attend the services for Corporal Ballard are asked to use off-site parking as access to the Chase Center will be restricted.

 

  • Motorists may adjust their routes or travel times by using DelDOT’s Smartphone application. The DelDOT App is available for Apple & Android smart phones and tablets, and can be downloaded free, search for “DelDOT” at the Apple and Google Play stores. With the DelDOT App you can view real time traffic cameras, travel times, delays, advisories, DART’s Real-Time Transit Information, and also listen to WTMC 1380 AM.


Governor Carney Orders Flag Lowering for Fallen Delaware State Police Officer

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor Carney this evening ordered both the U.S. and State flags to be flown at half-staff in memory of fallen Delaware State Police Corporal Stephen J. Ballard.  Corporal Ballard was killed this afternoon valiantly protecting the community and fellow Delawareans in the line of duty.

Governor Carney issued the following statement on the death of Corporal Stephen J. Ballard:

“One of our sworn Troopers has lost his life performing a duty on behalf of the people of Delaware,” said Governor Carney. “My heart is with Corporal Ballard’s family and the officers who have served beside him. Delaware’s law enforcement officers go to work every day knowing they put their lives on the line to protect ours. We are incredibly indebted to their bravery and service.”

Flags are to remain at half-staff until further notice.

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Lt. Governor Hall-Long Releases Statement on Fallen Delaware State Trooper

Wilmington, Del.- Lt. Governor Hall-Long issued the following statement regarding the Fallen Delaware State Trooper:

“My deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family of the Delaware State Police Trooper who lost his life in the line of duty. Across our state, law enforcement officers, and first responders bravely risk their lives every day to keep our families and our communities safe. Today’s shooting is a tragic reminder of the dangers they face in doing so. My thoughts and prayers are with the Trooper’s friends, family, and colleagues in this time of grief and sadness.”

 

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Governor Carney’s Statement on Fallen Delaware State Trooper

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor Carney issued the following statement on the death of a Delaware State Police officer, who was killed in the line of duty on Wednesday:

“One of our sworn Troopers has lost his life performing a duty on behalf of the people of Delaware,” said Governor Carney. “My heart is with the officer’s family and the officers who have served beside him. Delaware’s law enforcement officers go to work every day knowing they put their lives on the line to protect ours. We are incredibly indebted to their bravery and service.”

Delaware State Police is withholding the officer’s name pending notification of the officer’s family.

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