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Evanston Police Department History


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Once upon a time, before Evanston became Evanston

In 1836, Major Mulford and his wife Rebecca bought 160 acres of land in what was known as Grosse Point Territory , becoming the first permanent settlers (i.e., landowners) in the area. There they built "Ten Mile House," both a tavern and their home. (The site is near what much later became the site of St. Francis Hospital .) Major Mulford was appointed the first justice of the peace, and the first court in Cook County was held in his tavern…which did not serve liquor, even on holidays. The Township Act of 1849 authorized people to organize government, and the Gross Point District became Ridgeville in 1850.




Recently elected supervisors address the matter of policing the new Township of Ridgeville by establishing an animal pound and issuing a strict ban against dueling.


Robert Simpson, a local butcher, becomes the first policeman in the newly incorporated Town of Evanston .


John Alexander Dowie (founder of Zion City , Illinois ) holds a rally of his followers at Fountain Square . The police force - now doubled in size (Simpson and a partner) - employ fire hoses to quell the “Dowie Riot.” The group is arrested, charged with disorderly conduct.


The Town of Evanston transforms into the Village of Evanston , but its police force continues to number just two - Evanston natives Chief William Carney (appointed January 1) and his brother John.



John Carney is appointed chief of police on December 5.




For the first time an Evanston police officer loses his life in the line of duty. While on patrol about 3 a.m. , Officer Daugherty and his partner Officer Patrick Hayes approach with drawn guns two figures they suspect are burglars carting away the proceeds from a break-in. The two suspects run when ordered to halt. Officer Hayes quickly catches a young man. After a chase and a warning shot, Officer Daugherty exchanges rounds with the other suspect. After taking a shotgun charge in his lower abdomen, Officer Daugherty dies in his home sixteen hours later. Inquiry reveals that a local tinner and his teenaged son carrying duck decoys on their way to an early hunt thought they were being robbed at gunpoint.


The City of Evanston comes into existence when three towns - Evanston , North Evanston , and South Evanston - merge, creating a single municipality. During this decade a combined police/fire station is built at Grove Street and Sherman Avenue .

The merger makes John Carney the first chief of police for the new City of Evanston .


Wheeler Bartram is appointed chief of police on June 26.

Newell C. Knight



Newell C. Knight is appointed chief of police on May 1.





The City of Evanston's speed limit is established at 8 mph.


alfred frost


Sunday speed traps are set up at Sheridan Road and Ridge Avenue : Police officers equipped with stopwatches hide in bushes and time cars passing between tape markers on the pavement.

Colonel Alfred S. Frost is appointed chief of police on July 1.




Fred G. Shaffer is appointed chief of police circa 1907 or 1911.


The police department purchases a belt driven motorcycle - probably the first department in Illinois to do so. Leo Larkin is the first motorcycle police officer.

fountain square1911

Baldy, the last full time police horse, is put to death after being bitten by a rabid dog. In the mid 1930s, mounted traffic duty is revived briefly at Fountain Square during Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Charles W. Leggett is appointed chief of police on July 20.


Officer James Shea, age 28, dies of a gunshot wound he suffered while on duty and attempting to arrest a person passing a worthless check at a downtown haberdashery. Officer Shea served the department over seven years and was the second of its officers to die in the line of duty.

uniform patrol


William A. Wiltberger is appointed chief of police on July 1.


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