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The Stamford Historical Society Presents

Law & Order: The History of the Stamford Police Department 1830-1956
a 2004 Exhibit and more

cover page of The Daily Advocate of Stamford, Triennial Industrial Edition, Thursday, June 24, 1909The Daily Advocate of Stamford Connecticut
Triennial Industrial Edition
Vol. LXXX., NO. 45.
Thursday, June 24, 1909

Stamford Police Department

The Police Department of Stamford compares favorably with that of any city of its size in the land. Including the Chief of Police, William H. Brennan, it numbers 20 men. There are two sergeants, William F. Nevins and Walter P. Williams, a detective (soon to be detective sergeant) James J. Heffernan, an acting detective and dog warden, Thomas Foley, the driver of the patrol wagon and ambulance. Dennis Reardon, and a working force of fourteen patrolmen. Aside from these regular members of the department there are 30 special policemen who may be called upon for duty at any time.

The police department is housed in the Town Hall and it takes up more of the Town Building than any other one city department. There are separate departments for male and female prisoners, each equipped with the most sanitary plumbing and appliances, a padded cell of the best type, a roomy locker and lounging room for the patrolmen, a dormitory with modern plumbing. The Chief of Police has a private office on the first floor of the building in which are kept the records and relics. A card index system in use here facilitates searching of the records. Half a story above is the detective bureau with rogues' gallery and complete records which are kept by Detective Heffernan. The Sergeants' office is on the ground floor with entrance upon Bank Street.

The equipment includes a police telephone system. There are 17 boxes in this system and officers are required to call headquarters from them, while on duty, at stated periods. The ambulance and patrol wagon are practically new and are in excellent condition. An inventory of the department would include the fine police horse which has taken a new lease of life under the careful handling of Driver Reardon.

Police Ambulance and Wagon

The patrolmen work in three shifts of eight hours each. The sergeants work 11 hours per day and the Chief, detectives and driver are on duty practically all the time. The patrolmen are about to be equipped with a uniform firearm. It is about the only thing they now lack. There is a police pension system by which an officer who has served 20 years or is disabled in the performance of his duty may be retired on half pay.

Chief William H. BrennanWilliam H. Brennan is the second chief of police of Stamford. He succeeded George Bowman, who died September 14, 1903. He was made acting chief August 11, 1903 and was appointed by mayor Homer S. Cummings on August 14, 1905 , after Mayor Charles H. Leeds had, on March 14, 1904 attempted to make the appointment and failed because of the withdrawal of members of the Common Council. Previously Chief Brennan had been a patrolman, having entered the department February 14, 1893 . Chief Brennan is a native of Stamford. He is 44 years old, is 5 feet 111/2 inches tall and weighs 243 pounds. He was a member of the first Common Council of the City of Stamford , having been elected from the Second Ward.

The police force has been steadily increasing in efficiency, since it was established under the present system, and its organization at present seems to meet all requirements, although, as the city's population increases, it will necessarily be enlarged. The officers and members of the force are intelligent and courteous, and in a variety of ways perform for the people many useful services besides the one for which they are primarily engaged, the protection of life and property.

The proximity of Stamford to the largest city on the continent, and the fact that the population of this town includes people of almost every race, serve to emphasize the need of a good police force, and on many notable occasions it has shown its ability to meet any emergency which might arise.

Constables Andrew Schlechtweg and Hugh OefingerIn addition to the uniformed force of the city, the town constables perform useful service, not only in the apprehension of persons who violate the law, but in the service of civil process, and occasionally in the performance of detective duty. Of the constables, those who are most active, and who are usually regarded as most efficient are Andrew Schlechtweg and Hugh Oefinger, both of whom have had much experience in all the branches of work that a constable is expected to do, and who have done excellent service on numerous occasions as peace officers.

While the city policemen are appointed for an indefinite term, and are removable only for cause, the town constables are elected for a term of two years. When, however, the people find a man performing good service as a constable, there is little danger that he will fail of endorsement at the polls, and a town constable who is efficient and faithful can usually remain in office as long as he desires.

A Federal Building to cost $150,000, exclusive of the site, is one of the new things Stamford expects to see in 1910.

Introduction to the Exhibit
History of the Stamford Police Department
Annotated Timeline
The Political Life of a Connecticut Town 1868-1893
Police Department 1909 (The Daily Advocate)
The Police Department As It Was And As It Is 1894-1917
A History of the Stamford Police Department, April 1946
List of Constables 1865-1892
Police Roster 1894-1917
Staff images as of 1917
Police Roster 1953
Police Committees 1830-1956
Testimonial Dinner & Dance 1970 for Alexander J. Koproski, Sr.
Police Anchor Club Brochures
Police Department Website
Fallen Heroes Memorial Page
Stamford Police Association