Stamford Historical Society Presents
Law & Order: The
History of the Stamford Police Department 1830-1956
a 2004 Exhibit and more
Association Second Annual Entertainment and Dance, April 1946
A HISTORY of the Stamford Police Department
The Stamford Police department was first organized with the City Government
on May 7, 1894 under Chief George Bowman and has been in existence for Fifty-two
years next month.
Today the department
consists of a Chief, two Captains, one in the uniform division and one in
the Detective division, a Lieutenant in the uniform division, nine detective
sergeants, three desk sergeants, one traffic maintenance sergeant and four
street sergeants, with 85 patrolmen. (13 of whom have just returned after
serving in the armed forces of our country.)
At the present time there are 6 cars equipped with radios, 5 of which are
used 24 hours a day on patrol work. (At the present time we are awaiting the
delivery of 5 additional cars that are on order for patrol work.) There are
3 other cars that are not equipped with radio that are used for investigations,
etc., a combination patrol wagon and ambulance and 5 motorcycles, also a Police
Matron to care for the women prisoners.
John B. Brennan, the present Chief of Police, was appointed a member of the
department on March 11, 1914, and was elevated to a Captain on June 1st, 1919,
He succeeded the late Chief James J. Heffernan as Chief after the latter's
retirement from service on March 8, 1926.
On May 12, 1894, the Police Headquarters in Stamford was established in the
Whitney Building at the intersection of Canal and Atlantic Streets. The department
remained there for a brief period moving on July 31, 1896 into the Quintard
Building on Atlantic Square.
The present headquarters of the department has been occupied since April 1,
1907 with the Detective Bureau housed in separate quarters across the street
at 51 Bank St. (By the time that this leaves the press the Detective Bureau
and locker rooms will be in a new location as the department has been requested
to vacate the present quarters as the building is going to be renovated.) Efforts
have been made from time to time to secure more adequate quarters for the department.
At the present time there is a committee appointed by the Mayor looking over
available locations for a new building for the Police Department under the
Post. War Planning Committee.
The Detective Bureau of the Stamford Police Department was first organized
in June 1909, through an amendment to the City Charter, and has since its inception,
when two men were originally detailed to that line of work, have carried on
investigations, which have taken some of the members to cities in all parts
of the country.
An active file of all cases under investigation is maintained by the Bureau
and a special index system was begun in 1934 so that all automobile accidents
could be properly classified. This file is under the direction of the Safety
Officer and is used by all members of the department.
Traffic Policemen are detailed between the hours of 7 :00 A.M. and 11 P.M.
at strategic points in the center of the city, while several of the street
intersections are controlled by a system of traffic lights. An automobile radio
patrol is in operation 24 hours a day covering all sections of the city, also
a motorcycle patrol between the hours of 8 :00 A.M. and darkness. (Weather
This branch of the department has been instrumental in reducing the number
of automobile fatalities along the through traffic arteries. They have also
recovered a great many cars that have been stolen, both locally and from out
of town and made a great many important arrests.
At the present time the department is equipped to handle all lines of investigations.
A complete fingerprinting and photographic file is maintained by the department
in charge of our own Fingerprint expert and Photographer, which co-operates
with the F.B.I., filing all fingerprints in Washington, D.C.
All members of the department have had a Red Cross course in First-Aid so
as to be ready to render any aid necessary in case of accidents or times of
emergency. Some of the members of the department have been called on many times
in the past to render first-aid and assist in reviving persons who have been
overcome by gas poisoning or drowning. Each one of the radio cars used by the
department carries first-aid equipment, while an adequate supply of oxygen
and two inhalators are kept at headquarters at all times.
The Stamford Police Department is a municipal service and law enforcement
agency. It is responsible for your safety and for the security of persons and
property. Every law breaker has infringed upon your security by violating laws
your representatives have enacted for the protection of all citizens. Your
problems in this field and the use of lawful authority to solve them are police
The department undertakes to assist you in any anticipated infringement of
law endangering you or your property, generally seeks public co-operation in
law observance and acts to meet any emergency in which your person or property
are endangered by violence of persons or of the elements. Law enforcement activities
are confined to the field of law violations which have already occurred and
those where action is required to prevent threatened violations.
Patrolmen and radio equipped police cars patrol the city and in the course
of a year respond to thousands of calls, to the scene of crimes, disturbances,
accidents and to other places where service may be needed. The department's
effectiveness depends in a large measure upon the prompt and intelligent co-operation
of all its citizens.
The Stamford Police Department is well equipped to cope with any emergency
and the record of its Officers and Men is well known to the citizens of the
City of Stamford.