February 26, 1816, The Act of Incorporation of the Town of Delaware, Ohio was passed. This document stated “The Mayor and Common Councilman shall appoint a Town Marshal”. It went on to say it was the Marshal’s duty to collect fines and taxes, and to imprison those who could not or would not pay. There is no early indication who was appointed the Town Marshal.
The powers, granted the town in this early document, were somewhat limited and the town government had a very slow beginning. The 1880 Delaware County History indicates this may have been partially due to the domination of our town by its founder, Moses Byxbe. Town Council notes show an act to revive the Act to Incorporate the town, passed by the state on January 16, 1824. This seems to imply that very little, if anything had been done to this point.
Township Constables did police duty and Justices of the Peace were the only magistrates. The finances were in the hands of the Township Treasure and the roads were maintained by the Township Supervisor for the district. This mild form of government continued until 1849.
In early 1852, the state of Ohio passed an Act to Organize Cities and Incorporated Villages. This appears to be the starting point of any form of local government we might recognize today. Council notes from January 31, 1851, show the Mayor and Commonalty of the Town met in the Mayor’s office. The recorder was instructed to procure a suitable book and in it record all ordinances and resolution then in force in this Corporation. (This could be an indication as to why very few earlier records have been found.)
A few entries were found of business conducted by the Town Council prior to 1852. One item of interest was a council resolution, dated August 27, 1844, which seems to bestow police power on the entire population. The Resolution as written:
“Resolve that in consideration of frequent thefts and rowdy depredations committed upon the property of the citizens of the Town of Delaware that said citizens be empowered to act as a voluntary police in any manner they may arrange with one and other and that each one is empowered to arrest any person feloniously taking or disturbing any property with the full power of the Marshal to bring said person before the Mayor or other proper person for conviction and if said arrest be made in the night between the hours of 9:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M. he may deposit him in the jail of the county in the care of the jailer until the hour of 8 o’clock a.m. to be taken before the Mayor or other proper offices.”
The wording suggests that there was a serious problem and very little enforcement.
In December of 1845, the Town Council authorized the Marshal to hire an assistant to aid him in keeping the peace.
Starting in 1852, the Town Council began to function as we would expect and records of city law enforcement began to appear in Council notes. Joseph H. Crawford was the first Marshal who appeared in the records. His salary was $125 per year. In previous years the salary had been $25 per year. By 1853 the Marshal’s salary was increased to $200 per year and there seemed to be at least an annual indication of who held the post.
The Marshal’s job in addition to enforcing the law, and collecting fines and taxes, seemed that of doing what no one else wanted to do. Such as cleaning streets, repairing walks, renting the Market House, installing pumps, carrying coal to the Council Room, repairing bridges, etc. However he was paid extra, at least for some of these tasks.
During this interval all Marshals and Deputy Marshals were appointed every year by Council. This practice continued off and on for sometime. Occasionally council records reveal that a law was passed to have the Marshal elected by the people. That practice would only last a short time, then Council would appoint them again. On February 12, 1858, Council passed an ordinance stating that the Marshal would be elected by the legal voters on the first Monday of April, each and every year, and he would receive an annual salary of $365. On March 7, 1859, this ordinance was repealed. (Possibly Council didn’t like the People’s Choice in 1858.) In the 1880’s Marshals were again elected by the citizens, for a term of two years. All other officers were appointed, or reappointed, annually by council. This manner continued until 1903, when the Police Department was removed from city politics.
During these early years a person might be the Marshal one year, Deputy Marshal the next year, Fire Chief the next or become involved in county government. It seems as though no one stayed in any one position for any length of time.
Several places in the council notes, officers were referred to as Deputy Marshals or Policemen. The 1880 History makes mention of experimenting with the use of policemen in 1868, but it proved to be a failure. I’m unsure what the difference was, unless the term “policemen” referred to part time officers. However, in the 1890’s all officers, except the Marshal, were called policemen.
In the late 1800’s the city began to purchase some equipment for the police officers. The number of items purchased were few and the cost small. One of the first items was six (6) balls and chain for the chain gang. Apparently chain gangs were utilized quite frequently on the city streets and occasionally the city paid individuals to feed and house the chain gangs.
Other equipment purchased by the city was six (6) tin stars, for a total cost of $2.95, to be used by special policemen. They also, made purchases of police whistles and clubs.
A couple more interesting purchases were four (4) electric pocket lanterns, for $14.00. In 1900 the city bought police helmets at a cost of $16.80, but the records do not indicate how many were purchased. The helmets must not have proved to be very popular because only one picture has been found, and there was no further mention of helmets. The basic uniform and badge continued to be used until the mid 40’s. Firearms were not displayed on the outside of the uniform until 1944, when the new uniforms were adopted.
This leads to some speculation as to when they started to carry firearms, if they didn’t carry them from the beginning.
The birth of our “mug shot” file occurred in 1901 when the police department bought a cabinet in which they kept photographs of criminals.
In 1885, the Police and Fire Departments both came under fire from City Council. The Board of Revision (Mayor Henry Baker, City Solicitor F.A. Kauffman and Council President J. Hipple) examined the Police Department and found it did not operate as efficiently as it should due to the lack discipline and understanding of their duties. They found the officers to be faithfully performing their duties, but felt it necessary to put together rules and regulations for the department. (See rules in City Council Notes dated February 16, 1885.)
The rules of conduct for the Fire Department had been completed one month prior.
The number of city police officers varied from one Marshal and two Deputies in the late 1850’s, to a Marshal and five Policemen in 1903, when the Marshal system was eliminated and the Police Department was restructured.
On May 1, 1903, the structure of The Delaware Police Department was totally changed. Officers were no longer required to be appointed annually by City Council and the head of the department was no longer required to be elected every two years. This removed most of the politics from our city law enforcement. The structure of the department was simple. The last elected Marshal became the Chief of Police, the policeman with the longest time in service became the Night Captain and the other four officers kept their positions as policemen. With the formation of the Police Department law enforcement became a career, with most officers staying on the job until retirement.
William B. Matthews was the last Marshal, elected in 1900. He served in that capacity until May 1, 1903, when he was appointed the first Chief of Police. He resigned in October 1907. He was succeeded by James Spaulding, who had been appointed Night Captain May 1, 1903. He served as Chief of Police for 23 years. When he retired he had dedicated a total of 34 years to law enforcement.
In 1903, Delaware’s population was 7000, most streets were not paved and working conditions were somewhat different from today. Policemen received one week of vacation a year, but they worked 12 hour days and 7 days per week. The officers were required to purchase their uniforms and handguns. The Police Chief’s salary was $900 per year and patrolmen worked for $55 per month. Patrol was accomplished on foot or in the horse drawn patrol wagon. The posted speed limit for automobiles and horses was 8 MPH.
The vast majority of patrol was on foot and the officers knew almost everyone in town. This has always been known to be the best sort of patrol. By knowing and talking to the people, the officer can spot and stop trouble before it begins. As is the case today, the major cause of problems for the police was alcohol, it’s use and abuse.
Around 1907, Frank Vining, who had been serving as the day policeman on the east side of the river, was appointed Delaware’s first plain clothes officer. This was apparently Delaware’s first detective, but very little is known about why it was started or how long it continued.
Even in this time period a little excitement happened every now and then. On an August evening in 1907, Officer Ruder was sitting in the vestibule of the old city hall when a drunk came down the street sporting two handguns. He saw Officer Ruder and started shooting at him, hitting him once in the arm. Ruder retreated inside the building, through a hail of 15 bullets, as the drunk continued east on William Street. Captain Spaulding appeared on the scene about this time and dropped the drunk with a well placed blow from his blackjack. After the drunk had been incarcerated he said that he “was just gunnin’ for a copper”. Officer Ruder was patched up and went back to work.
Officer Ruder was the subject of several newspaper and magazine articles. At 6 foot 5 inches, he was the tallest Policeman in the state of Ohio. One article said he could run the 100 yard dash in 12 seconds and he was one of the fastest long distance runners in our city.
Officer Ruder had a large family of ten children, four girls and six boys. Several of the boys were employed by the CD&M interurban and one was a detective with the Columbus Police Department.
It seems that at one time some poor unsuspecting criminal from Columbus came to Delaware to do his criminal acts. The investigation by the Delaware Police revealed the name of the culprit. After determining that the suspect lived in Columbus, a warrant was issued and forwarded to the Columbus Police Department.
The suspect was arrested in Columbus by Detective George Ruder, a son of Charles. Officer Charles Ruder was sent to Columbus on the CD&M to bring the suspect back to Delaware, which he did. The CD&M car which brought them back to Delaware was operated by Clyde and Edward Ruder, both sons of Charles.
When this picture at left was taken all officers were career policemen. Every officer in the picture either retired or died on the job.
Two years after the picture, the department experienced a major change when they traded in their horse and wagon for a Model T Ford.
By the year 1923, police still worked 7 days a week, 12 hours per day, but they were granted two weeks vacation a year. The police budget had risen to an overwhelming $8000. (For comparison the 1984 budget was $1.2 million.) Parking spaces were established on W. Winter Street, the speed limit had increased to 15 MPH, an OMVI ordinance had been adopted and officers patrolled in a Cadillac.
The 1920’s brought about another challenge to law enforcement, that of ALCOHOL BOOTLEGGING. It was not so much the manufacturing, but the transportation through our city. In January 1925, Officer Rea Horlocker, of the Sheriff’s Department, was killed in the line of duty when his motorcycle was crowded off the road by a “rum runner” he was chasing.
Early in April 1925, the gaily painted truck of a cigar salesman had a flat tire about six miles north of town. Chief Spaulding and Officer Amrine arrested the driver, a former Delawarean, for driving a truck loaded with 120 gallon cans of corn liquor.
Rumor has it, from a very good source, there was another incident where a Delaware Police Officer jumped on the running board of a south bound vehicle on Sandusky Street. The vehicle, which was hauling corn liquor, dragged the officer down the street. The officer finally shot the driver.
By 1928, Delaware’s first traffic lights were being installed and automobiles were causing a serious problem within the city. Since automobiles were relatively new, driver’s license were easy to obtain (if needed at all), motor vehicle laws almost unheard of, and safety equipment limited to a very poor set of mechanical brakes. (For you kids, that means they weren’t hydraulic.) All of these resulted in traffic fatalities being higher than they are today. People just didn’t know how to handle these new machines.
Citizens were complaining that there were not enough parking spaces downtown, people were parking to long and the merchants and their employees were taking up the parking spaces. (Now, does that sound familiar.) No answer was found for the parking problem, but the City Fathers decided to purchase a motorcycle and hired a “Traffic Cop,” in an attempt to stop motor cars from running wild on city streets.
Thus began the era of Officer Joe “Pistol Pete” Davis (photo) and Lewis “Linco Louie” Coover, Delaware’s first and only motorcycle traffic officers.
During the next several years everything remained fairly stagnate, the population increased a little and a few police officers were added. In 1930, the Delaware Police car was marked for the first time. In 1944 the Police Department purchased their first two way radio.
The above photo shows the department wearing their new uniforms with Sam Browne belts. This is the first evidence of the Delaware Police Officers wearing guns on the outside of their jackets. No weapons were revealed in any earlier photographs, except the Motorcycle Policeman.
At this time the only equipment furnished by the city was the leather Sam Browne belt and holster. Each officer provided his own gun and some cases they were in such poor condition they would not fire. In addition, the officers were required to provide and maintain their uniforms. (About 1952, the city began to provide hand guns for the officers.)
This was the same year a two way radio was purchased. For the first time the police car could be dispatched by radio. But, on many occasions only one policeman was on duty and there wasn’t any civilian dispatcher at that time. Normally the officer in charge of the shift served as the dispatcher.
The department’s 1939 Studebaker had been traded in on the new Chevrolet pictured above. Since the motorcycle patrol was no longer being used, the motorcycle was sold. The decision to sell it may have had something to do with the fact that no one could ride it properly. One evening Officer Chapman climbed aboard the big “Harley” (which was housed in the police garage) and aimed it north in the alley at the rear of the city hall. Apparently not being familiar with what made it go, or what made it stop, he shot up the alley across E. William Street, through the filling station lot and into a tree. This concluded his motorcycle training for the day.
By the mid 1950’s the department had grown to 12 officers and a second police car was acquired. The “fleet” now consisted of a new 1954 Chevrolet 2 door and a 1952 Ford 2 door. Both had standard transmissions. Maintenance was not a high priority issue at that time. The Ford’s seat bolts had broken, causing it to be somewhat like a rocking chair. If an officer accelerated rapidly he would end up in a very awkward position. Occasionally the cars had to be parked because the tires were tread bare and no money was available for the purchase of new tires.
The early 70’s started to bring about many changes. Police training had been mandated, civilian personnel were being used in many positions, psychological testing had become part of the entry level tests, new and more adequate quarters were being employed, full time detective and police community service bureaus were in operation, many officers had college degrees, radar was in cars, lie detectors and computers were in the offices, TV cameras monitored the jail and hallways, and female police officers patrolled the streets.
Prior to the 1960’s when an officer was hired, he was given a gun and badge and spent a couple of weeks riding with an older officer (OJT). This was about all the training he would receive. In the 1970’s all officers received a minimum of 400 hours basic training and additional training continued throughout their career. In addition, most people applying for the job already had earned a bachelors degree from some college or university in the law enforcement field.
Command officers were accepted in the FBI National Academy. This is a 12-14 week course conducted in Quantico, Virginia, which deals with police management. Officers from all over the world are in attendance. Chief Browning was the first Delaware officer to attend, followed by Ronald Poulton, Randall Martz and Kathy Lieske.
In 1882, the Central Ohio Telephone Co. installed a telephone in the police department, at a cost of $2 per month. The Marshal had a telephone installed in his home in 1887. Beginning in 1896, a Patrol Box (telephone) was utilized on S. Liberty St. between Eaton and Ross Streets.
City Council appropriated $80 in 1904 to install a Police Signal System. The system consisted of a light bulb in the tower of the old city hall. Later that system was replaced by two light bulbs, one within the intersection of Sandusky and William, the other within the intersection of Sandusky and Winter Sts. Whenever the Police Dispatcher would need an officer they would turn a switch above the desk which would turn on both lights. Any officer on foot patrol downtown could see the lights, from most locations, and would return to police headquarters. This may seem archaic, but this system continued until 1974.
In 1944, the new two way radio allowed communications between Police Headquarters and the car. In the late 1960’s, portable radios were provided to give the foot officer better communications. And in 1973, a teletype (LEADS) was installed in the police communication room to provide instant access to criminal data. New radio equipment and frequencies permitted the radio dispatcher to communicate with all area law enforcement, fire vehicles and the ability to page key city personnel.
In December of 1886, the Fire Chief reported “finding” the running gear of an old Hook and Ladder wagon in the basement of City Hall. It was decided that the Fire Department would build a patrol wagon, under the direction of the Marshal. The first police vehicle was built for a sum of $88 and pulled by a horse named “Griffin”. The police wagon made from three to nine runs a month. This wagon was in service until 1900, when the city contracted with Frank Moyer to build a new wagon for $265 to be used for police patrol and an ambulance. The wagon was reportedly lost in the flood of 1913. Jim, the police horse at that time, was also lost in the flood.
By 1918, the era of gasoline powered motor cars had swept into our community and the city purchased a 1918 Ford Touring car for use as a police vehicle. This car was replaced in 1924 with a 1924 Cadillac Touring car at a cost of $825. The practice of marking of police cars began in 1930.
In 1928, a Harley Davidson motorcycle was purchased and a “Traffic Cop” was hired in an attempt to deal with the new problem created by automobiles. This type enforcement continued until 1942. The motorcycle was sold in 1944. In the late 1940’s, a three wheel motorcycle was purchased primarily for the use of the parking control officer.
The city maintained one police car until 1954, when they purchased a second vehicle. It should be noted that these vehicles were two door models which made prisoner transportation very awkward. These cruisers were sparsely equipped with a police radio, a mechanical siren (operated by a floor switch), one red light, a spot light, standard transmission and NO air conditioner. Over the next few years the quality of the vehicles improved dramatically, four door cars were purchased and they were equipped with special police engines capable of speeds over 135 MPH (that’s where the speedometer pegged). The number of vehicles gradually increase with the number of officers and unmarked cars were added for detective vehicles. By 1984, the city had six marked patrol cars and two unmarked vehicles.
The first County Jail was ordered built shortly after the founding of the county. A resolution was passed on June 17, 1808, which called for the jail to be completed by January 1st of the following year. It was to be built of oak logs 12 inches thick, with the floor made of logs 14 inches thick. The building measured 12 by 40 feet. This building was built by Addison Carver at a cost of $128.75. The exact location is unknown, but it is believed to have been located within the area originally set off for public use. This area was bound by the Delaware Run on the north, Sandusky St on the east, University Ave. on the south and Franklin St. on the west.
On January 20, 1814, the County Commissioners authorized the building of a new county jail. This jail was built of stone, with walls two feet thick and 17 feet high. The jail, 50 feet by 30 feet, was constructed on the south end of a house occupied by Soloman Agard. In consideration, Solomon Agard was made the jailer and he was furnished a license to retail domestic liquor. Delaware County deed records show that Solomon Agard purchased inlot #18 on March 3, 1813. This lot is located on the west side of N. Washington St., about midway between Winter St. and Central Ave.
In 1824 the Commissioners contracted with Otho Hinton to build a new jail for $1,000. This building was constructed of wood. The front part of the building was the dwelling portion (34′ by 17′) and attached to the rear was a 20′ by 36′ prison. The largest room (20′ by 20′) in the jail was referred to as the “Debtor’s Room” and the other as the criminals room. The exterior of the building was covered with black walnut and entire building, including the roof, was painted with two coats of red paint.
The next county jail was built just west of the present court house. It was a two story brick structure, built in 1846, at a cost of $5780.
In 1878, bids were awarded to construct yet another new county jail. This one is what we know today as the “old county jail” building on the corner of W. Central and N. Franklin. The cost of this building was a little over $25,845.
The early City Jails were apparently housed in the corners of the Market Houses and/or Engine Houses. The first mention of the City keeping prisoners was in June of 1856. The Chief Engineer of the Fire Department was often in charge of the prisoners. In 1874, council wanted to put a city prison in the engine house on the southeast corner of North and Franklin Street. This building was built on county property and County Commissioners objected. The Council then ordered a “station house” be placed in #1 Engine House.
During this same time period the Marshal was instructed to make contract ($525) for a lot on Depot Street to build a one story building of plank, 14 ft. x 20 ft., for a station house and a place to lodge vagrants and others. And on September 8, 1873, the Marshal was ordered to “forthwith put up a station or calaboose in Engine House in East Delaware”.
In early 1876, four double cells were built upstairs in the east end Engine House for use as a City Prison. The cost was $154.23, excluding bedding and a stove. George Aigin, Engineer, Fire House #2 (Central Fire House), gave reports on the cost of feeding prisoners.
It appears that the City Jail moved around about as much as the vagrants until about 1882 when it finally found a home in the grand old City Hall.
In 1882, the first City Hall was constructed and provided the city with it’s first real jail facility. It has been reported some of the jail was built with parts scrounged from the old county jail. (A new county jail was being built about the same time). This jail lasted until the City Hall fire of 1934.
By 1937, the new City Hall (and jail) was built at Sandusky and William Sts. on the same lot as the first City Hall. This facility consisted of a bull pen, three cells within the bull pen, one cell for female prisoners and one for juvenile prisoners. It was located in the southeast part of the second floor. A place was considered for an elevator but it was never installed until the remodeling of 1973 was completed. The only access to the jail was via a narrow set of stairs with two landings. This location was not ideal since the fireman’s sleeping quarters adjoined the jail to the north and council chambers to the west. When a drunk decided to yell all night, it was very disruptive. During the 1973 remodeling a TV camera was installed in the jail which permitted the police dispatcher to monitor any activity.
This jail was used until the completion of the Justice Center at Union St and Central Ave.
In 1860, the Delaware Town Council ordered that “all males over 16 years of age, convicted by the Mayor, be sentenced to hard labor upon the streets with a BALL and CHAIN. Those refusing to work would receive bread and water twice a day.”
On April 11, 1885, while giving his annual report of The Police Department, the Mayor told Council there had been 338 arrests, they had collected $337.95 and over 50 percent of arrests made having been for intoxication. He also made the following statement:
“The tramp system is continuing to be a nuisance. During cold weather must furnish them night lodging to prevent their annoyance to citizens. In mornings they are given small loaf of bread, fresh water and salt, if desired, released and ordered out of town. The plan of giving prisoners bread and water is a saving to the city and is having its desired effect upon prisoners. It is recommended that some action be taken for erection of a District Work House to better meet the punishment of offenders.”
In 1887, while presenting his annual report to council, the Mayor said there had been 297 arrests in Delaware, 61 state and 236 city cases, during the preceding year. This was followed by an interesting statement that he made to Council.
“From one to thirty days imprisonment was inflicted in cases where defendants were indigent except in the case of vagrants and tramps who were summarily bounced out of the City. I would recommend that an arrangement be effected with the County Commissioners for the erection of a work house in common, that may be utilized all the year round. The City has sufficient ground on South Henry Street for the purpose, and access to stone is all that could be desired. There is a certain class of people who perform no honest labor and are habitually offenders and dangerous. Imprisonment in idleness has but little effect, hard labor is of the greatest physical benefit to the criminals and financial benefit to the City. With the persuasive influence of a dungeon cell with a rule of “No Work No Food” the Mayor would be able to assist in macadamizing the streets with the labor of the element which by its disregard of law, makes a police force a necessity, a police court a compulsion and a stone pile the only adequate reformatory.”
Other action by Village Council, dated August 3, 1896:
Due to the large number of tramps staying at the city jail (300 to 500 per month), it was recommended that the driveway in the east part of the City Building be fitted up suitably for employing such persons at breaking stone. One half dozen stone hammers purchased at an expense not to exceed $6.50. (Undoubtedly this was before the formation of the ACLU.
The location of the early “Police Headquarters”, if there was one, is unknown at this time. One would guess it probably was at the lock up or tucked away in a corner of the Market House. (The Market House was generally used for local government activities before the building of the City Hall.) Wherever it was, I’m sure it bore little resemblance to the current facility.
The first mention of a Police Room was made in the Council Notes of December 1868, which stated that a room over Latimer’s Music Store had been rented for $14. We assume this arrangement continued until City Hall was built in the early 1880’s.
The Old City Hall is another story by itself. It was declared a “White Elephant” from it’s birth to it’s death in 1934. At least it provided a center for our local government, including a permanent space for the Police Department and City Prison. The cost of the building far exceeded the estimates. Possibly in an effort to trim costs, prison cells from the old county jail were recycled into the new facility. Police Quarters remained in City Hall until the fire of 1934, which completely destroyed the building. During the rebuilding of the new City Hall, from 1934-1936, the Police Department was housed in the old Delaware High School, located on W. Winter St.
Upon completion of the new building, the police moved into their “ultra modern” quarters that consisted of one 15′ X 30′ room (450 sq. ft.) and a second floor jail, connected by a spiral staircase (actually it was a very narrow, steep and dangerous stairway). This provided somewhat of a challenge when an unwilling fighting drunk decided not to be incarcerated.
These quarters remained unchanged until the Fire Department moved into their new quarters in 1973. Then a remodeling project provided the Police Department with about 7500 sq. ft. of usable space. In the course of the remodeling, what had been the entire police department became the detective office. The space over the police garage was made into three offices. The space previously occupied by the fire trucks was converted into a lobby, a combination radio/records room, a office for the police chief, a report/ready room, two interview rooms and booking area. The basement area was changed into a locker room, sauna, exercise room, police laboratory and a storage and property room. The old firing range was refitted with new booths and an armory.