Lt. Col. Melissa A. Zebley will be the first woman in the history of the Delaware State Police to be promoted to Superintendent and take command of one of Delaware’s largest law enforcement agencies.
Dover (DE) 07/09/20 | 15:45: A new commander is taking over the Delaware State Police today. Her name is Lt. Col. Melissa A. Zebley and she has a 28-year track record with the State Police.
Susanna Capps is the only other known woman to lead a state police or highway patrol in the country. History was made in Alabama when she was promoted as chief of the Alabama Highway Patrol in January 2018. She became known as Chief Susanna Capps and became the first woman to ever be named the head of Alabama Highway Patrol.
Governor John Carney and Kimberly Chandler, Acting Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security, made the announcement today.
Lt. Col. Zebley, 50, assumes command of the State Police following the retirement of Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr. Lt. Col. Zebley, a 28-year veteran of the State Police, is currently responsible for Internal Affairs, Information Support Services and Planning.
She joined the Executive Staff in 2010 at the rank of Major with oversight of the Budget, Training Academy and Human Resource sections.
In 2013, she transitioned to the role of Operations Officer overseeing New Castle County Patrol Troops and Criminal Investigations, as well as the statewide Traffic Section.
Her former assignments include patrol Trooper, Training Academy Officer, Patrol Sergeant, Public Information Officer, Fiscal Executive Officer, and Troop Commander.
Lt. Colonel Zebley has also served as the Officer in Charge of the Honor Guard and as a member of the Division’s Critical Incident Stress Management Team.
“Lt. Col. Zebley has a tremendous track record of leadership at the Delaware State Police, and is the right person to lead our largest police agency” said Governor Carney. “A 28-year veteran of the State Police, Lt. Col. Zebley has the trust of community leaders not only in New Castle County, but up and down our state. I know she will build on the good work of Colonel McQueen to keep Delaware safe and continue to establish trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Thank you to Lt. Col. Zebley for taking on this important challenge.”
“Having served in almost every leadership position within the Delaware State Police, Lt. Col. Zebley not only possesses the qualifications, skills and experience to lead the State’s largest police agency but has also earned the respect of her fellow troopers and the Delaware law enforcement community. She has demonstrated the temperament, demeanor, and wisdom necessary to navigate the challenges in policing today and is committed to serving the citizens of our State, said Acting Secretary Chandler.
“I am humbled and honored to serve as the 26th Superintendent of the Delaware State Police. I thank Governor Carney and Acting Secretary Chandler for their faith in me to lead this division of professional and dedicated members. I pledge to serve with the dignity and honor befitting the high standards of the agency,” Lt. Col. Zebley said. “The Delaware State Police remain steadfast in our mission of service to all citizens and will continue on our course of community collaboration and progressive policing.”
Lt. Col. Zebley earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Delaware and a Master of Science degree in the Administration of Justice from Wilmington University. She is also a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command and a graduate of the 235th Session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy. In addition, she is a graduate of the Anti-Defamation League’s Advanced Training School course on Extremist and Terrorist Threats and is currently attending the 43rd Session of the FBI’s National Executive Institute.
Lt. Col. Zebley is an instructor for the Delaware Leadership Development Program, a three-week school targeted for first line supervisors. Since 2003, she has served as an adjunct faculty member at Wilmington University, teaching in the undergraduate and graduate Criminal Justice Programs.
Lt. Col. Zebley is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, Mid-Atlantic Association of Women in Law Enforcement, and the FBI National Academy Associates. She was the 2015 Chapter President of the FBINAA Maryland/Delaware Chapter. She is currently the Chair of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) Law Enforcement Standing Committee.
On July 1, 2020, Delaware State Police Superintendent Colonel Nathaniel McQueen, Jr. announced his retirement. He begins serving as the Secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security July 13.
“Colonel McQueen dedicated nearly 32 years with the Delaware State Police and served with integrity to protect our communities and to keep Delawareans safe,” said Governor John C. Carney, Jr. “He has an ability to connect with folks on a personal level and was a strong leader as the head of DSP. Though Colonel McQueen is retiring as Superintendent, I’m pleased that he will serve our state as the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security– especially as we continue building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
Colonel McQueen was the second-longest-serving Superintendent in the agency’s history, having served as DSP Superintendent since December 20, 2012.
“It has been the honor and privilege of my life to serve as the 25th Colonel of the Delaware State Police. I have borne witness to the dedication, sacrifice, and courage exemplified by all members of the Delaware State Police family,” Colonel McQueen said. “Many of our accomplishments have been the direct result of the relationship with the community we serve. During these challenging times, the Delaware State Police is well-positioned to seize the opportunity to build upon its legacy of leadership and the progress of our state.”