Melissa Zebley recently became the first female major in the history of the Delaware State Police. She and other high-ranking women serve as role models for future troopers—and others.
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For Zebley, the first woman promoted to major by the Delaware State Police, the moment occurred in the Christiana area, when she spotted a guy climbing out a window.
“He and I locked eyes,” Zebley says. “He was carrying a bag and I could see a knife.” The man dropped the bag while scaling a fence. He fled, but was captured the next day.
That “man” turned out to be 14 years old.
Hukill, commander of Troop 2 in Glasgow, responded to a convenience store robbery in New Castle. “It was 4 o’clock in the morning. Nobody’s on the road,” Hukill says. “I saw a car in front of me and I think, ‘That’s the car.’”
Knowing other troopers were on the way, Hukill stopped the vehicle. “He was halfway out of the car and I’m thinking he’s going to surrender,” Hukill says. “Then he shuts the door and takes off. He ended up crashing his car and we got him secured. Luckily, none of our guys or civilians were hurt. I came home that day and thought, ‘This is why I do this.’”
Bailey’s defining moment occurred during an attempted robbery at a Millsboro liquor store. “I ended up in a line-of-duty shooting,” she says. “The robber was behind the counter with the clerk. When the first trooper approached the door, shots started flying. The trooper was hit several times. He retreated toward his car when I came up. He was flinging his hand, and blood splattered on the yellow stripe of his uniform.”
Bailey called for an ambulance and secured the back of the store while a Millsboro cop covered the front. “I was the loudest, mouthiest trooper ever because I wanted them to think we had tons of people there, and there was no reason to fire any more shots,” Bailey says. “There was only one robber, and he had sexually assaulted the cashier. He did give himself up.” The injured trooper survived.
Bailey always wondered if she could shoot someone. “That night,” she says, “I knew I could.”
Prior to Zebley’s promotion to major, she and Hukill were troop commanders in New Castle County, marking the first time statewide that women had been in charge of two troops at the same time.
Of the 671 officers that comprise the Delaware State Police, 74 are women. That ratio puts Delaware in the top 5 percent nationally with the number of women on the State Police forces.
Page 2: Arresting Figures, continues...