Declaration of Independence to be read aloud in front of Dover, Del.’s Old State House on July 4, 2020

(DOVER, Del.—June 26, 2020)—In celebration of the nation’s birthday, historical interpreters, dressed in replica period-clothing, will recite the Declaration of Independence aloud from near the spot where the document was first read to the citizens of Dover on July 29, 1776.

On July 4, 2020, historical interpreters, dressed in replica period-clothing, will recite the Declaration of Independence near the spot where the document was first read to the citizens of Dover in 1776.

The readings will take place on Saturday, July 4, 2020, at 2 and 4 p.m., outdoors in front of The Old State House, located at 25 The Green in Dover, Del. Programs will commence with the ringing of The Old State House bell 13 times in honor of the original 13 states, followed directly by a recitation of the declaration adopted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. The declaration announced that the American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states and thus, no longer part of the British Empire. The program is free and open to the public. Additional information is available by calling 302-744-5054.

Visitors will listen to the recitation from the Dover Green, located directly in front of The Old State House. In keeping with Gov. Carney’s Phase II guidance regarding the coronavirus pandemic, visitors must maintain at least six feet of physical distance from any individual who is not a member of their household. A cloth face covering must also be worn if maintaining six feet of physical distance between individuals of different households is impracticable.

Photo of the The Dover Green with The Old State House in the background
The Dover Green with The Old State House in the background

In addition to the Declaration of Independence readings, The Old State House and the nearby Johnson Victrola Museum, located at 375 S. New St., will be open on July 4 for 30-minute, self-guided tours by reservation only. Old State House self-guided tours are currently available at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Johnson Victrola Museum self-guided tours are currently available at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Call 302-744-5054 for reservations at either venue.

Completed in 1791, The Old State House is one of the earliest capitol buildings in the nation, serving as the home of Delaware’s legislature until 1933 when the General Assembly moved to larger quarters in Legislative Hall. The venerable structure now appears as it would have in the late 1700s during the United States’ critical early years as an independent country. It features a courtroom, governor’s and county offices and chambers for the state’s Senate and House of Representatives. The building is situated on Dover’s historic Green, a public area designated by William Penn in 1683. The Green is a partner site of the First State National Historical Park.


The Old State House
is administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, an agency of the State of Delaware. The division enhances Delaware’s quality of life by preserving the state’s unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality and providing educational programs and assistance to the general public on Delaware history. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five museums which are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, administration of the State Historic Preservation Office, conservation of the state’s archaeological and historic-objects collections, operation of a conference center and management of historic properties across the state. Primary funding for division programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, a federal agency. However, the contents and opinions expressed in the division’s programs and services do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Department of the Interior.

Picture of the Logo of the American Alliance of Museums

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Contact:
Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-608-5326
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov


Governor Carney Signs Executive Order on Law Enforcement Policy  

Order bans chokeholds at state law enforcement agencies, requires additional de-escalation training, and additional transparency around use-of-force policies

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday signed Executive Order #41, which bans the use of chokeholds by State of Delaware law enforcement agencies, including Delaware State Police and Capitol Police; increases community engagement; requires additional de-escalation and implicit bias training; and increases the availability of crisis intervention services for law enforcement officers.

Governor John Carney on Thursday signed Executive Order #41, which bans the use of chokeholds by State of Delaware law enforcement agencies, including Delaware State Police and Capitol Police; increases community engagement; requires additional de-escalation and implicit bias training; and increases the availability of crisis intervention services for law enforcement officers.

Governor Carney’s order also will formally prohibit executive branch law enforcement agencies from sharing mugshots of minors, except when public safety is at risk; require transparency around use-of-force protocols; and mandate participation in the national use-of-force database.

Agencies subject to this order include Delaware State Police, Capitol Police, Department of Correction, Natural Resources Police, and Delaware Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement.

Click here to read Governor Carney’s Executive Order #41.

“Talk is cheap. It’s on us to make progress,” said Governor Carney. “As I said last week, these are first steps that we can take administratively to improve the relationship between law enforcement agencies and communities of color in Delaware. I know that the General Assembly will build on these steps, and I thank legislators for their partnership. Thank you to Colonel McQueen and the law enforcement officers of the Delaware State Police for their leadership on this important issue. I know law enforcement in Delaware. The vast majority of officers here and across our country serve for the right reasons – to protect and strengthen their communities. They want meaningful change. Let’s keep working together to move forward.”

Governor Carney’s Executive Order #41 will make the following changes:

  1. Use of Chokeholds: No law enforcement officer in the Executive Branch shall knowingly or intentionally use a chokehold, kneehold or other similar acts of applying force or pressure against the trachea, windpipe, carotid artery, side of the neck, or jugular vein of another person unless that officer reasonably believes that the use of such force is necessary to protect the life of a civilian or a law enforcement officer and other applicable control methods have been exhausted.
  2. Availability of policies and protocols: Any use of force policies and protocols for law enforcement officers shall be posted on the agency’s website, subject to redactions necessary for the limited purpose of avoiding disclosure of tactical information that may jeopardize officer or public safety. 
  3. Publication of Photos: A photo or mugshot of a child 17 years of age or younger arrested or suspected of committing a crime shall not be released or published by law enforcement on a publicly maintained social media page or website unless that child is charged with a violent felony, as that term is defined in Title 11 of the Delaware Code, and release of the photo or mugshot is necessary to protect the public’s safety. Law enforcement may release the photo of a child 17 years of age or younger if required to do so by applicable state law.
  4. Community Engagement: At the direction of the Secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security for the State of Delaware (DSHS), DSP shall increase its community outreach unit by designating and training troopers as community outreach liaisons so that each Troop throughout the state will have a community outreach officer assigned to it. The community outreach troopers shall receive training on building relationships with residents and community-based organizations and meet with residents and organizations regularly to discuss how to better serve their communities and make it easier for those residents and organizations to communicate with law enforcement.
  5. Participation and Utilization of National Databases: DSHS law enforcement officers shall continue to participate in the National Use of Force Data Collection effort in order to assist law enforcement and the community to identify and understand the totality of, and trends associated with, use-of-force incidents. In addition, DSHS law enforcement officers, working with the Council on Police Training, shall participate in the Police Officer Decertification Database to aid law enforcement agencies in making informed hiring decisions to prevent officers who have been terminated for cause from being hired in Delaware.
  6. Training Requirements: The following trainings shall be conducted for law enforcement officers on at least an annual basis:
    1. Implicit bias training, including scenario based training and other methods of evidence-based experiential training, engaging community members with special expertise, to address implicit bias and its role in the criminal justice system; and
    2. De-escalation training, including a use-of-force continuum or matrix, to demonstrate the use of less or more force in an arrest situation, and reinforce exhausting all other reasonable alternatives before resorting to deadly force.
  7. Increase crisis intervention services: In collaboration with the Behavioral Health Consortium of Delaware, all law enforcement officers shall have access to crisis intervention training and services to improve appropriate response to individuals suffering from a behavioral health crisis.

 

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DNREC Environmental Crimes Unit arrests two Wilmington men on multiple drug and weapon-related charges

DOVER – DNREC’s Delaware Natural Resources Police Environmental Crimes Unit arrested two Wilmington men Dec. 31 and charged them with numerous drug- and weapon-related crimes after a traffic stop on Route 1 southbound led to discovery of crack cocaine in their possession. One of the men arrested had multiple warrants outstanding with the Wilmington Police Department, including first-degree robbery, carrying a concealed deadly weapon, and resisting arrest.

Joseph B. Coverdale

Jamar Smith

After pulling over the vehicle and making contact with the driver, Jamar Smith, 30, and passenger Joseph B. Coverdale, a DNREC ECU officer detected an odor of marijuana. An ECU search of the vehicle and the two occupants yielded 27.39 grams of crack cocaine and 1 gram of marijuana.

In connection with the traffic stop, Smith was charged by DNREC ECU with one count each of the following: manufacture/delivery of, or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance in a tier 3 quantity; conspiracy second degree – agreement to engage in felony criminal conduct; possession of drug paraphernalia not related to personal use quantity of marijuana; possession of marijuana, and failure to signal continuously when moving right, left, or turning.

In connection with the traffic stop, Coverdale was charged with one count of each of the following: manufacture/delivery of, or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance in a tier 3 quantity; tampering with physical evidence; conspiracy second degree – agreement to engage in felony criminal conduct; possession of drug paraphernalia not related to personal use quantity of marijuana; and possession of marijuana. Coverdale had multiple warrants outstanding with the Wilmington Police Department for the following charges: robbery first degree; possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony; carrying a concealed deadly weapon – firearm; conspiracy first degree; burglary second degree; and resisting arrest.

Following the traffic stop and initial charges, the Delaware State Police Governor’s Task Force and Delaware Probation and Parole conducted a search of a residence on Deville Circle in Wilmington that yielded 11 bags of heroin and a loaded 9-mm handgun.

In connection with the Deville Circle residential search, Smith was also charged by Delaware State Police with one count each of the following: possession, purchase, own or control of a deadly weapon, semi-automatic weapon, or automatic weapon by a person prohibited, who also possesses a controlled substance; possession, purchase, own or control of a firearm/destructive weapon if previously convicted of two violent felonies on separate occasions; possession, purchase, own or control of a firearm or ammunition by a person prohibited due to a prior violent crime or felony conviction; and possession or consumption of a controlled or counterfeit substance except human growth hormone without a prescription; and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child by committing a Title 16 offense with a child in the dwelling.

Both men were video-arraigned by Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover. Smith was committed to the Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown on $26,226 secured bond. Coverdale was committed to the same facility on $78,400 cash bond.

Delawareans are encouraged to report environmental violations to DNREC’s Natural Resources Police Environmental Crimes Unit by calling the 24-hour environmental complaints line at 800-662-8802.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

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DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Youth Academies graduate 59 students

DOVER – This year’s DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Youth Academy program was a huge success, with 59 students completing the academies’ curriculum the past summer. Now in its fourth year, the popular program is geared to students ages 12 to 15 with an interest in natural resources and law enforcement, with a focus on acquiring or enhancing boating, fishing, and hunting skills.

Sessions for the Basic Youth Academy were held at the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Little Creek Hunter Education Training Center near Dover and Ommelanden Hunter Education Training Center near New Castle. In addition to introductory boating, fishing, and hunting skills, the students were exposed to various aspects of a Natural Resources Police officer’s daily routine. For patrol work, students completed field scenarios that included checking deer stands and duck blinds, using a decoy deer to nab poachers in the act, and making contact with visitors to Delaware’s wildlife areas managed by the Division of Fish & Wildlife. They were also given instruction in the safe operation of boats and learned about on-the-water enforcement activities.

Students who completed the Kent County Basic Youth Academy were: Michael Atchley of Frederica, Nathaniel Atchley of Frederica, Jaden Azato of Lewes, Aaron Bartsch of Townsend, Ben Barwick of Georgetown, Logan Boyer of Magnolia, Ethan Couch of Laurel, Kenzey Curran of Smyrna, Justin Didden of Dover, Aiden Dill of Camden, Aiden Durham of Camden-Wyoming, Sean Jones of Wyoming, Joshua Kenton of Harrington, Elizabeth Krajewski of Lewes, Jamieson Martin of Clayton, Faith Mitchell of Milford, Kieran Morris of Middletown, Victoria Pedigo of Camden-Wyoming, Samuel Pluta of Carlisle, PA, Rhett Robbins of Frederica, Carissa Towery of Dover, Olivia Tryon of Harrington, Benjamin Warren of Dagsboro, and Walker Weiss of Selbyville.

Students who completed the New Castle County Basic Youth Academy were: Rachel Antonio of New Castle, Gavin Bradley of Middletown, Tyrone Brown of Middletown, Cayleb Catherman of Middletown, Edward Cobb of Newark, Bradyn Coleman of Newark, Jimmy David of Middletown, Vinny Helms of Townsend, Kolin Kaiser of Middletown, Hunter Landry of Magnolia, Harry Long of Wilmington, Gabrielle Marrero of Bear, Chris Napolin of Townsend, Isabella Poore of New Castle, Dawlat Refaie of Wilmington, Walter Samuels of Middletown, Justin Saylor of Wilmington, Makenzey Stephenson of Newark, Maddison Stubblebine of Newark, and Sawyer Wilkins of Landenburg, Pa.

In addition to the Basic Youth Academy students being presented their boating and hunter education certificates at graduation, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police instructors presented awards to five students in each class. For the Kent County class, awards were presented to Michael Atchley for leadership, Jamieson Martin for sportsmanship, Aiden Durham for sharpshooting, Sean Jones for archery, and Ethan Couch for fishing skills. For the New Castle County class, award recipients were Tyrone Brown for leadership, Walker Weiss for sportsmanship, Kolin Kaiser for sharpshooting, Walter Samuels for archery, and Harry Long for fishing skills.

At the Advanced Youth Academy, students acquired skills for camping, fishing, and hunting, and were exposed to various aspects of a Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officer’s daily routine. Students obtained their turkey hunter certification, assisted wildlife biologists with capturing and banding mourning doves, assisted fisheries biologists with pond seining, participated in shotgun and rifle target shooting, a fishing derby and bird watching, and camped at Lums Pond State Park’s primitive campground. To finish up the camp, students participated in a public outreach event with officers displaying the Operation Game Theft trailer at Cabela’s in Newark.

Students who completed the New Castle County Advanced Youth Academy were: Aaron Bartsch of Townsend, Brooke Boileau of Middletown, Gavin Bradley of Middletown, Bradyn Coleman of Newark, Zoe Given of Middletown, Kolin Kaiser of Middletown, Hunter Landry of Magnolia, Harry Long of Wilmington, Gabrielle Marrero of Bear, Kieran Morris of Middletown, Domenick Rathoff of Bear, Harrison Rathoff of Bear, Emily Scott of Middletown, Heather Scott of Middletown, and Walker Weiss of Selbyville.

In addition to the Advanced Youth Academy students receiving their turkey hunter education certificate at graduation, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police instructors presented awards to Walker Weiss for sportsmanship, Aaron Bartsch for sharpshooting, and Zoe Given for fishing skills as well as leadership.

DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police thank the following sponsors who helped make this year’s youth academies possible: Cabela’s, Freemire & Associates of Camden, PSC Contracting, Inc., Safari Club International – Delaware Valley Chapter, and Logo Motive Custom Apparel.

To learn more about Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police and the Youth Academies, please visit http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Pages/Enforcement.aspx.

Contact: Sgt. Brooke Mitchell, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-382-7167, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

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DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation Natural Resources Police seeks two Enforcement Trainees

DOVER – Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment Control Division of Parks & Recreation Natural Resources Police invites qualified applicants to apply for the position of Enforcement Trainee. This is a law enforcement position with duties to include crime prevention and detection, public safety, enforcement of all Delaware criminal and traffic laws, responding to calls for service, and enforcing Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Rules and Regulations in Cape Henlopen, Fenwick Island, and Delaware Seashore State Parks.

Eligible applicants must possess an Associate’s Degree or higher in criminal justice, natural resources, environmental science or a related field, and  be a minimum of 20 ½ years old. In lieu of a Degree, one must have a minimum of six months experience performing investigations, applying natural resources law and narrative report writing. 

The starting salary is $36,527.00 with opportunity to promote.benefits include health, dental and vision insurance, optional deferred compensation, life insurance and disability insurance. Enforcement Trainees may also take advantage of park housing when available. 

Delaware State Parks provides over six million visitors annually with many activities and amenities including hiking, biking, canoeing, surfing, fishing, birding and much more. Cape Henlopen State Park was recently selected by USA Today as one of the most stunning state parks in the country. Outdoor enthusiasts with a desire to preserve the integrity of Delaware’s natural and cultural resources are encouraged to apply for this unique opportunity. 

For more information and to apply, visit the Delaware Employment Link. Interested applicants may also speak with Natural Resources Officers at National Night Out in Newark and Dover. Applications will be accepted until August 25, 2019.

Media Contact: Jayme Gravell, DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation, 302-739-9112 or