Delaware State Police employee still on the job after 68 years

GEORGETOWN — Constance “Connie” Dick has taken just 30 sick days in nearly 68 years with the Delaware State Police.

One quick stint involved gall bladder surgery and she returned within 48 hours of the procedure.

Ten days were needed to recover from an automobile accident, then it was back to work.

It’s no wonder the 85-year-old civilian employee has over 9,000 hours (four years-plus) of unused leave time.

Her take on longevity and consistency isn’t a complicated matter.

“You just keep going,” Ms. Dick recently explained from her Troop 4 office. “When it’s time, you get up and put on your clothes and go to work. It’s that simple. It’s just part of my life.”

How long a stretch has it been? Ms. Dick served as administrative assistant for current Troop 4 Commander Rodney Layfield, along with his grandfather as well in the 1950s.

“‘Miss Connie’s’ years of dedicated service to the State of Delaware and Troop 4 are unequaled and will likely never be matched,” Capt. Layfield said.

“Most people can’t fathom working 68 years. She has seen a lot and it is always a pleasure to speak to her about the stories of old. She is a classy young lady that deserves great recognition for a monumental feat.”

Currently, the 1951 Harrington High graduate is responsible for processing subpoenas, checking trooper activity sheets with vacation and overtime balances and ordering supplies as needed.

With 90 troopers (including 50 detectives) working from the barracks, the work load is tremendous with just a part-time employee to assist.

“Sometimes people forget to put down what they do, what overtime hours they put in,” she said, acknowledging her responsibility to track it all down.

All that’s OK, Ms. Dick said.

“It keeps me going,” she said. “I don’t think people should go home once they stop working, sit down and die.”

The DSP’s longest-tenured employee has adapted nicely to ever-changing technology while still remembering when switching from manual to electric typewriter was a huge leap.

Decades ago, detectives dictated criminal case reports to Ms. Dick, who took shorthand notes before putting them down on paper. Then came the dictaphone and small cassette that voice recorded details to be transcribed later.

The cases troopers — including her late husband of 52 years, George — faced were much simpler, as well.

“It’s all drugs now,” she said. “There weren’t any crimes like there are today. People just liked to drink beer.”

Computers arrived sometime in the 1980s and “they certainly made everything a lot simpler,” she said.

When her career began, there were just 25 troopers (all men) statewide working out of one barracks near where the Georgetown Wal-Mart is now located. Since then, Ms. Dick has worked with 27 different troop commanders.

Nobody expects to work for nearly seven decades all at the same place, Ms. Dick included. She graduated high school at age 17 and took a DSP secretary’s position a week later “because I needed a job.”

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