Eric Ralph, an equipment mechanic at Troop 4 in Georgetown,was recently named the Delaware State Police Civilian Employee of the Year

Last week, Delaware State Police named Ralph as its civilian employee of the year, an honor that recognizes outstanding performance, exceptional service, outstanding character and integrity. An equipment mechanic for Troop 4 in Georgetown, Ralph is responsible for maintaining 85 vehicles, and occasionally assists with investigations and inspections of vehicles involved in fatal crashes.

Q How did you come to work for the Delaware State Police

A After talking to a good friend and neighbor of mine, who happened to be a state trooper at the time, I submitted an application. Several months later, I was delighted to get an interview and eventually start my career with the state as an equipment mechanic at Troop 4 in Georgetown on April 15, 1996. Time after time, I've realized this is the perfect job for me.

Q What are some of the maintenance issues patrol cruise experience that might be different from other vehicles?

A Patrol cruisers are typically put under extreme operating conditions, partially due to carrying the extra weight of the equipment necessary for officers to perform their duties. The electrical systems are specialized due to the increased demands of computers, camera, radar unites, emergency lighting, etc. Tires and braking systems of course are put to the extreme on a daily basis. To keep our officers and the public as safe as possible, we service and thoroughly inspect each vehicle every 4,000 miles.

Q What's it like to assist investigations?

A It is always thrilling when asked to assist the agency in investigations. Over the years, I have helped in locating possible hidden compartments in vehicles, recovering bullet fragments from car seats, door panels, etc. I assist the Collision Reconstruction Unit in gathering valuable information from vehicles involved in fatal vehicle accidents. Some of these investigations have led me to testifying in Superior Court as a state's expert witness.

Q Can you tell me about the recent medical issues you've been struggling with?

A In August 2009, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. From August 2009 to March 2010, I underwent surgery and chemotherapy. By September 2011, the cancer had spread to my liver. Between then and March 2012, I underwent surgery and chemotherapy. In June, 2012 the cancer had reappeared in my liver and spread to the stomach lining. I underwent chemotherapy and had surgery in October. I returned to work in January and it was the best thing for me.

Q What does being named Citizen of the Year mean to you?

A It is a huge honor to be selected as Delaware State Police Civilian of the Year. I am very proud to be working with such good people and such an important organization.


AGE 53


FAMILY Wife, Sharon; Sons, Zach and Joe

EDUCATION Seaford High School, Class of 1977; Auto/Diesel Certification from Delaware Technical Community College, Class of 1979; A.S.E. certified master technician.

WORK HISTORY Auto diesel technician at Showell Farms, 1979-1986; auto diesel technician at First State Chevrolet in Georgetown, 1986-1996; equipment mechanic at Delaware State Police Troop 4 in Georgetown, 1996 to present

FAVORITE TV SHOW Anything on the History Channel

HOBBIES Fishing and hunting