Kaitlyn Corder honored as Delaware Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement’s first female Officer of the Year

Cpl. Kaitlyn Corder

DOVER — Kaitlyn Corder was a field hockey, basketball and soccer star at Lake Forest High, where she captained those teams.

When she played Division I soccer at Delaware State University, she was a team captain there in 2014.

And yet it was as an impressionable young ice hockey player when her career path unknowingly launched.

Playing in a women’s adult league at the Harrington Ice Arena alongside police officers, firefighters and first responders in the mid-2010s, Mrs. Corder realized she wanted to be one of them.

2019 DATE Officer of the Year Cpl. Kaitlyn Corder stands next to evidence collected during a large-scale investigation. (Submitted photo/Delaware Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement)

“It was a great group of truly inspiring women,” she said.

“I respected their inner drive, toughness, intellect, fitness, focus, everything.”

Delaware State Police Lt. Mary E. McGuire was especially encouraging, Ms. Corder remembered, and the connections led to ride-alongs with DSP troopers, including time spent with the helicopter unit.

Back then, she visualized doing what they did professionally, living up to their standards and what they stood for.

Mission accomplished.

Now she’s 27-year-old Cpl. Corder, the 2019 Delaware Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Officer of the Year.

2019 DATE Officer of the Year Cpl. Kaitlyn Corder is a regular contributor to school and community outreach programs. (Submitted photo/Delaware Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement)

It’s the first time a female has garnered the award and she said she hopes to motivate and encourage other young women to chase a law enforcement career if inspired.

“Every day is an opportunity to step up and challenge yourself, go above and beyond what’s expected or required while representing the badge you wear and being a direct reflection of what the agency stands for,” she said.

DATE Chief John Yeomans said, “It’s an honor to name Officer Corder as our Agent of the Year. She is the epitome of what we look for as a standard of excellence in modern day law enforcement.

“She takes a great deal of pride in her work and she continually surpasses expectations, thereby raising the bar and making us better as an organization. She is fair and compassionate with the communities and stakeholders we serve.

“She has taken a special interest in our community outreach efforts especially with the youth throughout the state and serving as a mentor for many. Her positive impact has been and will continue to be far reaching.”

Investigations highlighted

The agency highlighted the corporal’s contributions to the investigative unit, including her undercover work that brought numerous arrests and the seizure of more than 100 cases of alcohol during one operation when two out-of-state men were buying large amounts of alcohol in Delaware and then illegally transporting it.

In another case, “Cpl. Corder utilized social media to investigate a business that was selling alcohol without a liquor license. This investigation resulted in the seizure of over 300 cases of beer, wine, and liquor products along with the arrest of a man for selling alcohol without a valid license and illegal storage of alcoholic beverages,” according to a news release announcing the award.

Describing herself as “shocked, humbled and grateful” after earning the honor, Cpl. Corder credited the officers she works with for their unity and that “we constantly lean on each other for support and assistance (while working cases).”

Ms. Corder was a lead instructor at last summer’s DATE Youth Police Academies involving approximately 35 cadets, and has participated regularly in outreach involving National Night Out, school and community programs.

Cpl. Corder worked as a seasonal police officer in Dewey Beach for three consecutive summers while following her course as a student-athlete at DSU. She graduated college with a Bachelor of Biological Sciences Degree in May 2015.

The learning continues and DATE’s officer of the year is pursuing a Masters of Science in Homeland Security with a concentration in organizational leadership at Wilmington University.

When she’s not studying or enforcing the law, Cpl. Corder spends time snow skiing and snowboarding, taking trips to Vermont. She and husband Jesse, a United States Air Force Technical Sergeant and former Lake Forest High classmate, recently bought and remodeled her grandparents home in Dover.