Hartford Police Department
Hartford Police Department
253 High Street
Hartford, CT 06103
860-757-4000
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History of the Hartford Police Department

New:  History of the City of Hartford Twentieth Century Chief's of Police

New:  History of the City of Hartford Police Department 1636 to 1901

Introduction

The roots of the Hartford Police Department date back to 1636 with the appointment of Samuel Wakeman to the post of Constable of "Herteford Towne" by the English and Dutch immigrants who settled in what was alter to become the city of Hartford.  Initially the department consisted of citizen patrols; men assigned to night duty whose responsibility consisted of watching for fires and suspicious persons.  For this, they were paid one dollar a night.

The first official police force was established in the summer of 1860.  a year later the Board of Police Commissioners was installed to oversee the department.  The Hartford Police operated under the direction of the Board of Police Commissioners until 1947.

The Board of Police Commissioners was made up of six political appointments who met on a regular basis, usually one evening a week.  The Mayor generally presided over the commission meetings, at which all business of the Police Department was discussed and planned.  There was a financial report presented and discussed at each meeting and bills were approved for payment.  The members of the police commission were assigned to committees, including the committee on rules and discipline, the auditing committee and the committee on station house and supplies.  Applications for supernumerary police positions were discussed at the meetings and the name of each applicant and his voucher (the person who recommended him) was placed on the list of Democrat or the list or Republican applicants.  This practice continued for year.  Matters of discipline were discussed by the commission during executive session.  Police officers and witnesses were often called before the commission to give testimony in disciplinary matters and the commissioners voted on the appropriate discipline when they found officers guilty of violations of the departmental rules of conduct. Officers who performed exemplary deeds were also given recognition by the Board of Police Commissioners.     All of the business taken up by the board Board of Police Commissioners was carefully documented by the commission clerk.  The minutes of Board of Police Commission meetings were handwritten in the early years and later typewritten and bound in large books.  The minutes of the Board of Police Commissioners, which start before the turn of the twentieth century and continue until the Commission was disbanded in 1947, give us, at least partially, an intimate account of the early history of the Hartford Police Department.

The history of the Hartford Police Department from its inception in 1636 to 1901 was documented in a book by Thomas S. Weaver entitled: "History of the Hartford Police Department".  The book was published by the Hartford Police Mutual Aid Society, the forerunner to the Police Benevolent Association, in 1901.  Many sources of historical information on the Hartford Police Department and city of Hartford may be found in The Hartford Collection of the Hartford Public Library.

Twenty First Century Hartford Police Chiefs
Daryl K. Roberts, appointed July 12, 2006, retired December 31, 2011
Patrick J. Harnett, June 2004 to July 12, 2006
Bruce Preston Marquis, January 2000 to 2004

Twentieth Century Chief's of Police and Department History

History of the Hartford Police Department 1636 to 1901