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The History of the Hartford Police Department

Chief Chamberlin <-Chief Walter P. Chamberlin
        July 1860 - October 1881


Chief Calib L. Packard->
April 1882 - December 1882

Chief Packard

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 later 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 of Republican applicants. This practice continued for years. 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 of Police Commissioners was carefully documented by the commission clerk. The minutes of the 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 history of the Hartford Police Department.

The History of the Hartford Police Department from its inception in 1636 to 1901 is documented in a book by Thomas S. Weaver, History of the Hartford Police Department. The book was published by the Hartford Police Mutual Aid Society, the forerunner to the PBA, in 1901. Other sources of historical information on the Hartford Police Department include the minutes of the Board of Police Commission meetings and the City of Hartford Register which was published annually for many years.


Current Police Chief:   Daryl K. Roberts, July 12, 2006. 
Biography of Chief Roberts.
Police Chief Patrick J. Harnett, June 2004 to July 12, 2006. 
Biography of Chief Harnett.
Police Chief Mark R. Pawlina, January 2004 to June, 2006. 
Biography of Chief Pawlina.

Police Chief Bruce Preston Marquis, 2000 to 2003. 

Chief Joseph J. Croughwell:    1994 - 2000
Chief Jesse Campbell:    1993 - 1994
Chief Ronald J. Loranger:    1989 - 1993
Chief Bernard R. Sullivan:    1982 - 1989
Chief George W. Sicaras:    1980 - 1982
Chief Hugo J. Masini:    1974 - 1980
Chief Thomas J. Vaughn:    1968 - 1974
Chief John Kerrigan:    1963 - 1968
Chief Paul Beckwith:    1958 - 1963
Chief Michael J. Godfrey:    1944 - 1958
Chief Charles J. Hallissey:    1941 - 1944
Chief John J. Butler:    1939 - 1941
Chief Garret J. Farrell:    1913 - 1939
Chief Cornelius Ryan:    1901 - 1904

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