Paterson Police Department History
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Until July 16th, 1866, the City Peace Officers consisted of one City Marshall, who was the only salaried Peace Officer. In addition to him, there was a constable from each of the five wards. At this time there had been so many burglaries and robberies, that the public became alarmed, and the Mayor, William G. Watson, and the Police Committee of the Board of Aldermen, appointed the following men to start on August 1st, 1866:
The above-named men were appointed at a salary of $500.00 per year and Marshal Dobbs was placed in charge of the Police Department.
It is interesting to note that on August 3rd, 1866, three nights after the Police Department was organized, Patrolmen Graul and Jones, who were detailed by Marshall Dobbs to patrol the East Ward, discovered two burglars robbing the home of D. B. Grant, at Broadway and East 18th Street. They were captured after a pistol duel in which one of the burglars was shot in the right arm by Officer Graul. They proved to be the ones who had been committing all the robberies, were tried, and sent to State's Prison for a period of 27 years each. They carted away their loot to Fort Lee with horse and buggy , and with the capture of these men the robberies stopped.
On October 1st, 1866, the salary of the Patrolmen was raised to $700.00 per year.
On Febuary 19th, 1867, Officer Graul was appointed a Temporary Roundsman by Marshall Dobbs.
On April 15rh, 1867 Cornelius Quackenbush was appointed City Marshall.
On May 20th,1867, Frederick Graul was appointed Permanent Roundsman.
The first death in the Department occurred on February 13th, 1868, by th death of Officer Benjamin Harris.
June 1st, 1868, Alexander Morgan was appointed the first Captain of Police, but his duties were not defined, and on January 20th, 1870, Caption Morgan requested the Board of Aldermen to outline his duties for him, with the result the request was referred to the Committee on Police, and on March 14th, 1870, the Police Committee of the Board of Aldermen recommended that the Caption of Police position be abolished. The recommendation was adopted.
August 3rd, 1869, the Roundman's pay was raised to $800.00 per year. On September 12th, 1870, the rank of Roundman was changed to Sergeant, and we find that at this time we have three Sergeants, namely Frederick Graul, John B. Rice, and Henry Barclay.
On October 12th, 1870, the first Police Station was built in the rear of City Hall. It was later destroyed by fire in the year of 1902, at the time of the great fire which also destroyed a large portion of the city. This station and the City Hall stood at 111 Washington Street.
The Amended City Charter was approved March 23rd, 1871.
On May 6th, 1872, John B. Rice was appointed the first Chief of Police, under a new City Charter.
On April 7th, 1873, Sergeant Graul was appointed Captain of Police. On April 3rd, 1876, Captain Graul was appointed Chief of Police.
April 9th 1875, an Ordinance to establish and regulate and control a day and night police force was passed.
In the year of 1877, the Police Department consisted of 1 Chief of Police, 4 Sergeants, 20 Patrolmen, a total of 25 men.
On March 18th, 1892, the first Patrol Wagon was put into service.
On March 24th, 1892, the control of the Police Department was removed from the Board of Aldermen and placed in the hands of a board of Police Commissioners, which consisted of four members, to wit: James Johnson, John McDonald, William Ryan and James Siglar. One of the first acts they did was to provide a stable near the Police Station in which to keep the Police Patrol and Ambulance, and they also appointed two drivers, one for night duty and one for day duty.
In 1879 the total arrests were 1573.
In 1880 the department consisted of 43 members.
In 1881, twenty-one additional men were appointed.
On April 25th, 1881, Johm Bimson was appointed a Captain of Police.
In 1883, eleven additional men were appointed.
In 1884, the Department consisted of 1 Chief, 1 Captain, 4 Sergeants, 42 Patrolmen, for a city of 58,000 inhabitants. Total arrests that year were 3,166, and value of stolen property recovered was $1,752.88. The payroll for that year was $44,594.11.
In the year of 1885, the Captain was placed in charge of the Police Department during the night shift, three patrolmen were detailed as desk officers, two to serve warrants and to answer all calls with the Patrol and the Ambulance in the day time. The night detail at that time consisted of two Sergeants and nineteen Patrolmen. The afternoon detail had one Sergeant and ten patrolmen. The morning detail consisted of one Sergeant and five patrolmen.
In 1891, the department consisted of 1 Chief, 1 Captain, 7 Sergeants, 61 Patrolmen, and of this number, three were detailed to desk duty at Headquarters, two to the Detective Bureau, one truant officer, one at the Erie Depot, one to the Recorder's Court, leaving 53 men for patrol duty. This is the first record of any men being detailed either to the Detective Bureau or to Truant Officer Duty.
On March 16th, 1894, the Police Commission was legislated out of office and control of the Police Department was rested in the Board of Aldermen.
On May 21st, 1906, the control of the Police Department was again taken from the Board of Aldermen and returned to the Board of Police Commissioners, where it has remained since.
Chief of Police Graul died December 14th, 1905, and John Bimson was appointed Chief of Police on January 16th, 1906. John H. Taylor was made a Captain of Police on the same date.
On June 1st, 1906, the first mounted squad went on duty to patrol the outlying posts in the city and consisted of Patrolmen James Coyle, Charles Keating, David Horridge, and Thomas Walker.
On April 1st, 1908, Mrs. Ella McCann was appointed as the Police Matron at a salary of $25.00 per month.
On July 1st, 1910, the Bertillon System and the Bureau of Identification was established, and Sergeant John M. Tracey was appointed Captain of Detectives.
The first auto patrol was placed in service at 9 a.m. on the morning of February 18th, 1911. The second auto patrol was placed in service October 9th, 1912.
On February 15th, 1913, at 2 p. m., the first flashlight signal went into service in the City of Paterson.
At a meeting held December 5th, 1913, the first civil service appointment was made in the Department.
On December 12th, 1913, the first civil service promotion was made in the Department.
Chief of Police John Bimson was placed on pension at his own request on July 1st, 1917, and on October 18th, 1918, John Tracey was appointed Chief of Police. Sergeant William E. Perry had been Acting Chief of Police during the time of Chief Bimson's retirement and Chief Tracey's appointment.
The new telegraph system was put into service at 12 noon on the 31st of December, 1917.
On February 11th, 1922, Officer James Kelly died from injuries received in the performance of his duties.
On April 7th, 1922, Officer Harry Gourley was made Director of Junior Safety Patrol.
On April 1st, 1923, the Traffic Bureau was established.
Mrs. Leigh was the first Police Woman to be appointed to the department, December 1st, 1926.
The First Precinct at 231 West Broadway was established, effective April 1st, 1928, and abolished April 1st, 1931.
Sept. 9th, 1928, Officer James Baldini died from injuries he received in the performance of his duty as a motorcycle officer.
Oct. 1st, 1928, the members of the Police Department were granted one day off per week.
The 2nd Precinct, at East 33rd Street and Park Avenue, was established on October 8th, 1928.
Chief Tracey died on January 10th, 1932.
On June 16th, 1932, John A. Murphy was appointed Chief of Police.
May 8th, 1933, the first Scout Cars were put into service.
June 6th, 1935, Detective Robert A. Alexander was killed at Warwick, N.Y., during a gun battle with an escaped prisoner, Gifford Wright. Read News Artical
On February 4th, 1936, Sergeant James H. Graves died from injuries received in the performance of his duties.
As of 1936 the Department consisted of 252 Members under the command of Chief of the Police John A. Murphy.
1936 - Our Radio Cars received calls through Station WPFK of the Bergen County Police Department, located at Hackensack, N. J., and through our own Flash Light System. At that time the Department had 108 Police Telegraph Boxes in Service, 7 Scout Cars, 5 Detective Cars, 3 Police Patrol Wagons, 18 Motorcycles and 3 Miscellaneous Cars.