1858: First record of an individual being paid for constable services. A Gilman L. Allen was paid $4.00 for constable services provided during the year. The money came out of the town’s miscellaneous account. It is interesting to note that there is no actual record of what the constable did but there are indications in other sources that this person was responsible for some law enforcement duties.

1874: Early signs of community policing are seen when an E. R. Fiske was paid by the town, out of the miscellaneous account, for the printing of notices for a reward offered for the apprehension of hen thieves.

1877: October 2nd, the murder of John Bullard, the Town of Shrewsbury’s first (located) gruesome murder. He was killed with an axe by another town resident, John W. Murphy. Shrewsbury special police officers were paid to attend the trial on October 3rd and 4th. He was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life in prison “of which one day will be in solitary imprisonment and the residue confinement at hard labor.” On June 18, 1885, after spending several years in the prison hospital with a diagnosis that he could not recover from the illnesses he had, he received a pardon by Governor George D. Robinson. He died at home, after extreme illness, with his family on September 6, 1885

1901: The town’s annual report lists the agency as the Police Department, no longer the Constables and Police.

1905: The Police Department publishes its first activity report in the annual town report. The report is submitted by the head of the agency, the Constable of Shrewsbury. Total activity for the year is 10 arrests. Crime statistics: disturbing the peace=2, assault=2, drunkenness=4, tresspass=2.

1916: Shrewsbury Police Department receives its first motorized patrol vehicle, the police motorcycle.

1919: Shrewsbury Police Department’s first official chief of police, Joseph J. Condon is sworn in. The department experimented with silent traffic officers for the purpose of directing motor vehicle traffic in problem areas and intersections thereby allowing police officers to be free to respond to other emergencies. Unfortunately the department found them to be expensive and impractical without regular police supervision so they were disbanded. Crime statistics: arrests=42, disturbing the peace=8, rape=1, unnatural act=2, fornication=6, breaks=22.

1925: As of July, the department is staffed 24 hours a day and an officer is assigned to sleep at the Fire Station on the overnight shift so he may answer emergency calls during the night. Crime statistics: arrests=142, suicide=1, dragging for bodies=1, house breaks=6, cars stolen=2, drunkenness=20, traffic accidents=225.

1926: On October 26 the department was present with a new combination ambulance and patrol car by the Ray Stone Post, American Legion. This car was the last word in police emergency cars and was conceded by doctors and others interested in first aid work to be the finest car of its kind in New England. It was fitted to carry three patients and could carry a fourth if necessary. There was a Bangardner wheel stretcher for hauling sick transfer cases, also a Branchard envelope stretcher for lowering patients out of windows, carrying up steep inclines and out of inaccessible places, it could also be used as a strait jacket. Crime statistics: incidents=309, arrests=103, dragging for bodies=1, lost children returned=4, automobiles stolen=3, raids=6, traffic accidents=200.

1927: 200th Anniversary of the Town of Shrewsbury. As of November 29th the town adopts MGL 31 Sec. 48 and the police department operates under the Civil Service system which controls hiring, promotions and other aspects of the department’s operation. The police are also operating out of their new joint station house located on Church Road along with the Fire Department. The department’s police car was involved in its first accident. Crime statistics: arrests=190, gaming=17, larceny=13, carrying dangerous weapons=2, escaped prisoners=2, fugitive from justice=1, rape=2, police surgery=1, traffic accidents=225.

1928: As of February 6th the town adopts MGL 31 Sec. 49 and the chief of police position falls under civil service regulations. Crime statistics: arrests=199, assault=3, receiving stolen property=2, violation of parole=1, drunkenness=41, traffic accidents=160.

1944: As of February 14th the town adopts MGL 40 Sec. 6B and uniforms for police and fire departments are implemented. Crime statistics: arrests=44, A.W.O.L. from U.S. Navy=1, assault and battery=2, operating without a license=1, breaks reported=33, cars tagged=270, accidental shootings=3, houses posted for scarlet fever=35, roosters killed=4, traffic accidents=48, fatal accidents=5.

1946: Chief Joseph J. Condon stepped down from the chief’s position and Irving E. Clapp stepping in as the acting chief of police till a new chief could be formally appointed and sworn in. Crime statistics: arrests=41, assault and battery=5, passing bad checks=1, bicycles stolen=9, chickens killed=100, drunken woman=1, burglar alarms=12, cars stolen=12, traffic accidents=87, traffic accidents with injury=87.

1946: Chief Joseph J. Condon stepped down from the chief’s position and Irving E. Clapp stepping in as the acting chief of police till a new chief could be formally appointed and sworn in. Crime statistics: arrests=41, assault and battery=5, passing bad checks=1, bicycles stolen=9, chickens killed=100, drunken woman=1, burglar alarms=12, cars stolen=12, traffic accidents=87, traffic accidents with injury=87.

1947: The department’s second police chief is sworn into office on January 20th, Chief Kenneth F. Burns. The department’s staff: chief, three sergeants and eight patrolmen. The patrolmen work schedule is eight hours a day, with one day off in seven. There are two patrolmen and a sergeant on each shift. Department equipment consists of three cars, two equipped with radio, an ambulance also equipped with a radio, and a main radio station located at the fire headquarters. During the year there were more than 1,100 radio transmissions from the station radio. The radio was a tremendously vital tool in combating a huge forest fire that occurred in October. The three cruisers traveled more than 150,000 miles in the year’s patrols. The department is developing pre-driving and safety classes to be taught in the schools to various grade levels. Crime statistics: arrests=136, breaking and entering=13, larceny=5, driving under influence=11, drunk=56, tramp=1, contributing to the delinquency of a minor=2, warrant federal government=1.

1953: The town goes through one of the most devastating years in history, referring to the tornado that struck in June and did so much damage, the scars of which will be visible for many years to come. The officers of the department were augmented by men from thirty eight cities and towns that sent aid to the area. The officers worked many long hours and were quoted as being “capable of going above and beyond the call of their regular duties when the necessity arises.” The town installs police call boxes in various sections of town with hopes of having town wide coverage in the future. The department is granted a 40 hour work week (formally officers had 1 day off out of 7) and also receives two, three and four week vacation periods depending on length of service. This was the last police department in the area to be granted these work conditions. Crime statistics: various complaints investigated=400, summonses served=287, traffic accidents=260, persons injured from accidents=343.

1956: The department hires its first clerk to aid with in-house paperwork and filing. As a result of a survey that was conducted, the department is broken into several specialized bureaus; juvenile, traffic and investigation.

Four patrolmen attended school as set up by the Massachusetts Police Chiefs in conjunction with the State Police. The course ran for four weeks, from Monday until Saturday of each week, the men living at the barracks in Framingham and attending classes from 6 A.M. to 9 P.M. This was a very concentrated course, requiring a great deal of study, and dealt with all phases of police procedure such as: shooting, Massachusetts law, traffic, report writing, to name a few.

The finger print bureau set up a new filing system as suggested by the Wilson Report. One of the members of the bureau went to Everett, Massachusetts on his own time, to study modern methods of taking and reading fingerprints. The department’s school crossing guards provided an accident free year at the school crossing areas and were furnished with uniforms. The departments auxiliary unit, consisting of 65 members is available to assist the department with any duties that may arise. An officer was assigned to teach general safety in the schools to various age levels. He has established a safety patrol in most of the schools and also acts as the juvenile officer, handling most cases that involve school children. He is a member of the Massachusetts Safety Officers’ Association and attends monthly meetings. As a result of this he has access to moving pictures, new ideas and methods of presenting safety to the children. Crime statistics: breaks=51, drownings=1, licenses suspended=48, licenses revoked=11, registrations suspended=2, traffic accidents=360, accidents with injury=313.

1961: Shrewsbury Police Chief, Kenneth F. Burns was installed as President of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association. He attends meetings and acts as an administrator within the organization and is able to pick up several new ways of thinking in regard to various aspects of police work and organizing a police department. A new police officer went on duty for the department after he completed a rigid four week training course at the Massachusetts State Police Academy; he is the ninth member of the department who has completed the training. In-service training was inaugurated in the department and most members attended. This training updated the officers with news laws and new methods and techniques of police work.

New radar equipment was purchased for traffic enforcement and used very effectively. The compact radar transistor unit may be mounted inside a cruiser, outside on the roof or fenders, on a stand or even off the road with an extension cord. Effective range of the unit is 2,000 feet.

Crime statistics: assault=2, breaking and entering=10, drunkenness=57, forgery=2, motor vehicle laws=63, violation of traffic rules=87, traffic accidents=394.

1970: The department’s third Chief of Police is sworn into office, September 8th, Chief Francis A. Reynolds. All officers of the department are now being trained in fingerprinting, and all members of the department also attended a firearms qualification course. In May a new teletype machine was installed and was much more advanced that the old one. The new one allows for instantaneous replies to requests for information. Crime statistics: arrests=743, rape=2, robbery=3, aggravated assault=17, burglary=48, larceny=67, violation of narcotic laws=36, drunkenness=110, arrests for traffic violations=322, traffic accidents=467.

1975: On Mach 5, 1975, Officer James Lonchiadis became the first Shrewsbury Police Officer to be killed in the line of duty. The senseless and tragic murder of this dedicated Police Officer caused deep concern for all law enforcement agencies and hundreds of man hours were expended in the investigation. Crime statistics: incidnts=14,576, arrests=273, protective custody=222, homicide=3, rape=4, burglary=404, vandalism=961, narcotic law=18, traffic accidents=528, speeding violations issued=1,770.

1976: In October, three subjects were taken into custody for the murder of Officer James Lonchiadis. They were subsequently tried and convicted for his murder.

Police academy is upgraded to 12 weeks for new hires. Crime statistics: incidents=15,485, arrests=275, protective custody=208, rape=2, burglary=403, larceny over $50.00=133, larceny under $50.00=261, auto theft=192, narcotic laws=14, disorderly=41, weapons violations=4, traffic accidents=620, speeding violations=2,373.

1977: The Police Department appointed Judy Safer, its first woman police officer. She received the highest score on the Civil Service examination. She is a graduate of Boston College, having a Bachelors Degree in Social Studies.

The department acquired a trained police dog. Patrolmen Wayne Sampson and K9 Blitz completed a canine training course at the Boston Police Academy. The training covered many phases of police work including, tracking, article search, building search and attack. Crime statistics: incidents=15,516, arrests=362, protective custody=212, rape=5, burglary=299, larceny over $50.00=250, auto theft=160, narcotic laws=25, traffic accidets=578, speeding violations=2,392.

1980: The department’s fourth Chief of Police is sworn into office on September 1st, Chief Robert K. McGinley. The department staff: chief, thirty two officers, three secretaries, two civilian dispatchers, six school crossing guards and the Dog Officer. Crime statistics: incidents=13,398, arrests=368, protective custody=401, burglary=200, larceny over $200.00=143, auto theft=63, traffic accidents=544, speeding violations=2,643.

1986: The police department moved into the 21st century with the installation of a custom designed computer system. This system, called police server, put out by Pamet Company has automated every aspect of the department such as computer aided dispatch, processing arrests, processing criminal court applications-to name a few of the departmental functions the system is capable of. Crime statistics: incidents: 16,872, arrests: 679, protective custody=170, criminal homicide=1, assault=8, narcotic laws=67, auto theft=23, traffic accidents=693, speeding violations=2,255.

1988: The D.A.R.E. program is implemented in the town school system. DARE officer Patricia Babin provided instruction at the Shrewsbury Middle School and graduated approximately 350 students in the first class.

Lieutenants Wayne Sampson and Daniel Sklut were appointed two fill newly created positions in August 1988, and the department was reorganized into three separate divisions-namely Patrol, Services, and Investigative. These new positions were a result of the Management Study of the department that was conducted in 1987. Crime statistics: incidents 18,343, arrests=666, protective custody=170, auto theft=8, O.U.I. liquor=76, protective custody=170, traffic accidents=675, speeding violations=2,771.

1998: The department’s fifth Chief of Police, A. Wayne Sampson is sworn into office, January 30th. The department’s uniform of the day changed from the light blue shirts to a dark navy blue. Crime statistics: incidents=24,277, arrests=744.

2007: The department's fifth Chief of Police, James J. Hester, JR., begins work January 7 and is sworn into office Junaury 22 along with five new recruits.

Special Thanks to Donald Brickman Jr. for providing this information.

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