While the University of Delaware was founded in 1743, a University Security Department was not founded until 1965. At this point the Security Department was made up of merely 18 employees, none of which were sworn officers. The employees were labeled as guards, and carried a two-way radio and a wooden nightstick for their protection. Originally, the department was responsible for building security, management of parking regulations, as well as ambulance and bus services. “Car One” was the sole departmental car that also doubled as the makeshift ambulance. In these new times of growth, there was a heavy reliance on local police departments for any criminal activity.
Employees began police academy training in 1972, and were sworn in as “Special Officers” in 1979 by the local Newark Police Department. The men and women of the University of Delaware Security Department took an oath to support the laws of the United States as well as their agency’s jurisdiction. This gave them the responsibility of protecting members of their community as well as their quality of life. Shortly after these oaths were taken, the Security Department was renamed the Department of Public Safety. In 1988, Title 14, Section 5104 was signed, granting UD the authority to appoint police officers.
What started as a small force of 18 quickly grew into a powerful and successful department. Big changes came in the early 2000’s, such as the department becoming fully armed in 2008 and being given the power to hire up to 50 more officers. With this larger staff, they were able to create crucial teams in 2009 such as the K-9 Unit, SWAT Team, and Community Resource Unit. This growing force finally gained the title of University of Delaware Police Department in 2015.
Today, UDPD is a successful and respected agency that works closely with surrounding local jurisdictions. We are currently led by Chief Patrick Ogden who oversees over 150 employees, 54 of which are state-certified police officers.