Messenger - Vol. 2, No. 2, Page 26
Winter 1993
Alumni Profile: A major investigator

     Anyone who thinks the typical police officer is white, Irish and male
would say there is nothing typical about Maj. Sherry Sczubelek, Delaware
'71, of the New Castle County, Del., police. Sczubelek, the highest-ranking
woman in law enforcement in the state of Delaware, is this year's
Mid-Atlantic Association of Women in Law Enforcement's officer of the year.
     Sczubelek says she believes her most important contribution to the
county police force is bringing a different perspective to situations. "The
more points of view you have on a case, the better you are for the public,"
she says.
     Born and reared in Delaware, Sczubelek had attended the University for
three years as an English major when a U.S. Supreme Court ruling opened the
doors of police stations to women.
     Before the ruling, she had little interest in the traditionally male
occupation, but when Sczubelek's brother told her women would never be able
to handle the job, she bet him she was capable.
     Accepted into the Police Academy in 1973, she eventually graduated
from Wilmington College with a criminal justice degree.
     Recently, Sczubelek has headed the investigation of a serial rape case
in Delaware. During a departmental study of domestic violence against
women, detectives reviewing unsolved rape cases dating from 1986 noticed
striking similarities in attacks that occurred in 1990, 1991 and 1992.
Working in conjunction with the FBI, county police were able to confirm the
belief that a serial rapist is operating in northern Delaware.
     At community seminars to bring that information to the public,
Sczubelek urges women to check the safety of their homes and to review
their lifestyle patterns. "Going public with the information was a gamble,"
says Sczubelek. "We did not want to cause a panic, yet we needed to warn
people of potential danger."
     Since taking on the serial rape case, she has been working many long
hours, conducting investigations during the day and addressing the public
at night.
     "I nearly flunked out of law school because I missed so many classes,"
says Sczubelek, who is enrolled in night classes at Widener University.
                                   -Michelle Carlstrom, Delaware '94.