The Modern Era

Becoming a More Mobile Unit

The officers patrolled the city on foot until 1919 when the first piece of motorized apparatus was purchased - a motorcycle first ridden by the late Officer Cornelius Sweeney. (There is a newspaper account from the April 29, 1919 edition of The Hour which details a serious accident that Motorcycle Officer Sweeney was involved in.) The first police cruiser was a Model-T Ford purchased in 1925. While police cruisers have evolved and are still in use today, motorcycles were discontinued in 1932. However, two new Harley Davidson motorcycles will be placed into service after being purchased through Federal grants.

From the original Model-T, the department fleet has grown to today's present size of 65 marked vehicles and 35 unmarked vehicles, 3 motorcycles and 7 specialty vehicles.

These vehicles include:
  • 10 police mountain bikes
  • Animal control vehicles
  • Emergency Services vehicle
  • Crime Scene Vehicle
  • Prisoner transport van
  • Three police boats

Two-way radios were installed in the police cars in 1941. Prior to that time, officers used call boxes to receive calls for service.

Management Changes

Chief Pennington retired in 1933 and was succeeded by Chief Jerry Dorney. In 1936, the department management was again changed when the Board of Police Commissioners was created and appointed to manage the department.

Today's Department
Today's force consists of 179 sworn officers, 40 civilian personnel including 23 who work in the Combined Dispatch Center, and three police dogs. The three-member Police Commission, comprised of the mayor and two mayoral appointees, is responsible for the overall management of the Department, and conducts its regular business meetings on the third Monday of each month.

The Department moved into their new state-of-the-art headquarters located at 1 Monroe Street, on May 1, 2005.