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Manchester History Link

History of the Manchester Police Department

This volume would have been impossible to complete without the efforts of Officer Josh Searle. Without Josh's enthusiasm and curiosity, most of the content of this album would have been lost to us. Without his energy and generosity, this album could not have been written. S.I.G.

 

The Manchester Police Department did not keep its historical records. Writers of histories of the Town of Manchester ignored the police and their contributions to this community. Many of the files of the Manchester Herald were damaged or destroyed. Much of the firsthand information from veteran officers was lost with their passing.

Over the years, Josh interviewed retired officers and their families; collected and preserved department artifacts and memorabilia; researched town records and historical society files; and created and maintained a department museum when there was no department museum.

This history of the MPD was taken from the Manchester Police Department Commemorative Album, published in 1996, celebrating the centennial year of the Department.

 

1673-1900

 

The area now known as Manchester was first settled by the English about 1673, and was in a part of Hartford called "Five Miles Tract." Later it came to be called Orford Parish, and was a part of East Hartford.

By 1790, Orford Parish had about 1,000 residents clustered in small settlements such as Buckland, "the Center" and "the Green." Residents of Orford Parish began agitating for incorporation as a separate town as early as 1812, but their petitions were unsuccessful until 1823, when Orford Parish was incorporated as the Town of Manchester. The town was governed in the old New England tradition of "town meeting," and the public peace was maintained by constables who were selected by vote at a town meeting.

By 1896, many citizens were dissatisfied with the force of the seven constables and one deputy sheriff who were responsible for the town's law enforcement. The Call to Meeting of 1896 included this agenda item: "To see if the Town will authorize its Selectmen to appoint, not exceeding two patrolmen, under provision Sect. 61 of the General Statutes of Connecticut."

This agenda item was the subject of much debate at the meeting, with some citizens expressing opinions that the constables were not making the arrests they should to keep the peace, and the constables expressing the opinion that they were not getting the support of the citizens and the court system. After the free expression of feelings and opinions, it was decided that the constables were rather a law unto themselves, and the selectmen could not force them to do more work than they wanted to do.

The town's solution, addressed in the handwritten minutes for the meeting, was that, "The matter of appointing patrolmen be left discretionary with the Selectmen." On October 5, 1896, Selectman Clarence G. Watkins exercised that discretion and named John Johnson, then a town constable, as a full-time police officer, and a second man, Epraham Symington, as a part time officer.

Johnson went on duty at 7 p.m. and remained until 4 a.m. Symington, who was employed in the silk mills, was assigned to street duty from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. Johnson never wore a uniform. He "just sauntered along the streets, his long arms hanging by his side, and with a pipe in his mouth, which he always smoked upside down, neither looking for trouble, nor running from it." Johnson remained for two years as the night patrolman.

The call for the town meeting of June 18, 1898, with Clarence G. Watkins, Henry W. Barrows, and Charles Ratenberg as selectmen, included the following notation. "Sect. 2 of call: To see if the town will authorize its Selectmen to appoint not exceeding three patrolmen under provision of Sect. 61 of the General Statutes of Connecticut."

The result of the vote was as follows: "Voted: On motion of Clinton W. Cowles, duly seconded, it was further voted to authorize the Selectmen of the town to appoint three patrolmen, one for day duty at the north end of the town, and two for the south end."

John Johnson was offered the position of chief with this increase in personnel, but he was not interested. He had a young family and preferred running a farm. The town selectmen then looked to Hartford for trained people, and hired three Hartford supernumeraries (trained volunteers who augmented the regular patrol force) to form the first uniformed police force.

On the 28th of June, 1898, Albert L. Thomas, Edward F. Babcock, and John H. Watson appeared before Charles R. Hathaway, and took the oath of office as patrolmen in the Town of Manchester.
Albert Thomas, who was the senior man, was looked upon as chief, and he and Watson patrolled the South End of town while Patrolman Babcock patrolled the North End beat. This was the first formal patrol district system, and its officers worked only day duty.

There were only about 10,000 people in Manchester at this time, with more than half the population foreign born, who had come to Manchester to work in the mills. The south end of Manchester was the primary district, with the majority of business located on Main Street. The north end of Manchester was known as Depot Square, and consisted of the intersections of Main and North Main Streets. The north end was composed of a railroad station, a hotel, and several bars. This area was the scene of may fights and "knives were flashed about freely," so a police officer assigned to the north end had to be able to handle himself. One of the duties of the north end officer was to turn off the light at the Depot Square water trough at 11 p.m.

On October 14, 1899, the first local resident was appointed to the Manchester force. Almeron Hayes was appointed to replace John Watson, who had resigned to become a regular with the Hartford Police Department. Thomas and Babcock also left when they were eligible to become regulars on the Hartford Police Department. John Sheriden became the second local appointee in 1899, when Babcock resigned.

In 1900, the total police budget was $2,720, and the force consisted of five men. According to records for that year, five policemen received yearly salaries over $100. The men and salaries included Albert Thomas ($905.32); E.F. Babcock ($752.66); A.G. Hayes ($702.85); Fred Snow ($136.85); and J.H. Watson ($119.12). Several part-time men were paid nominal fees.

The predominate crimes at the turn of the century were breach of peace, drunkenness, and assault. There were no motor vehicles and the vehicle law consisted of local ordinances which forbade driving a horse more than 20 miles per hour on Main Street, or leaving a horse without a blanket in cold weather.

When a police officer made an arrest in the north end, he would handcuff his prisoner(s) to the hitching posts in Depot Square, go out in the rear of the Cowles Hotel to a stable, hitch up a one-horse rig, and bring the prisoner(s) to the south end lock-up.

The first Manchester lock-up was built in 1869, on the west side of North School Street, at a cost of $613. The town purchased the property for $100 and put up a one-story brick structure, which contained two cells and a lobby in which prisoners could lounge. Inmates sawed wood and fed it into a small stove to heat the building. In 1878, a second town jail was erected, for $816, on Spruce Street, between School and Wells Streets. This second facility made it easier on the constables who no longer had to make the long trip to North School Street.

The town's Hall for Records building at 66 Center Street was completed in 1897, at a cost of $12,500. It housed the probate office, town clerk's office, court room, and a new police station located in the basement of the building, which included for cells for prisoners.

What happened to the North School Street lock-up is unknown, but in 1896, three inmates in the Spruce Street jail used some firewood to pry out the iron bars in the windows. They escaped into the woods at the rear of the building and were never seen again. The cells in the Hall of Records replaced the Spruce Street lock-up.

 

1900-1927


In 1910, the police budget climbed to $3,947.87, and included a yearly salary of $1,050 for the town's first Chief, John F. Sheriden. Samuel G. Gordon received $912; William G. Glenney, $912; and William F. Madden got $907. The department had expanded to 11 men, including supernumeraries.

Sheriden was named the first chief of police for the Manchester force on February 1, 1903. He served in that capacity until November 1, 1911, when he resigned to become deputy sheriff. Sheriden later served as chief of the Manchester Fire Department (Eighth District) and built the Sheriden Hotel at 605 Main Street, which opened in 1923.

Chief Sheridan was replaced by Samuel G. Gordon, who had been a Manchester officer since October 16, 1908. In 1912, William Madden, who had joined the department with Gordon in 1908, was appointed the department's first captain.

Other patrolmen on the department in these early years included William G, Glenney (1902-1923), Rollin M. Rood, Charles Johnson, David Crockett, Robinson Crockett, Clarence E. Wrisley, and William R. Campbell. Campbell who was the first supernumerary on the department's payroll in 1909, and who became a regular patrolman in 1911, later advanced to a captaincy in 1915. He left the department in October 1920.

One of the first major crimes to come before the police in Manchester was the "Love Lane Murder", so-called because of the location of the victim's body on Love Lane.

A town resident, Arthur Manning, was returning to his home from a show in Hartford on a night in December 1911. He came upon the body of a man lying beside the gravel road deep in the woods off Love Lane. He ascertained that the man was dead and then called the police. The body was removed to Holloran's Funeral Home and Dr. William R. Tinker and Officer Glenney of the local police investigated. A superficial examination revealed that the man had been killed by a shot through the heart.

It developed that the Italian victim had been shot by a man who had argued with him in a Hartford pool room. The victim had agreed to "shoot it out" in some "out of the way" place. The two men and their seconds took the trolley and when they stopped at the Love Lane station, they all got off and walked down Love Lane for their duel.

What exactly happened on Love Lane will never be known. But Chief Gordon did ascertain the identity of the man wanted for the murder. Gordon was informed by the ticket agent at the Manchester station that a stranger, a nervous appearing man, had bought a ticket to Willimantic and was waiting outside the station in the extreme cold weather. It was too late to catch the train at the Manchester station, so Chief Gordon phoned the chief of police of Willimantic and asked him to hold the man in question for investigation when he arrived at the Willimantic station.

The Willimantic chief of police refused to cooperate. Chief Gordon found another officer, not connected with the Willimantic department, to hold the suspect but it was too late. Although the officer called at the place on the outskirts of Willimantic where the suspect was reported to have gone, the suspect eluded the police. Subsequently, Chief Gordon learned that the man bought a ticket for Italy and left Boston for that country. The duelist was never heard from again.

The Town's board of selectmen relinquished their supervisory control of the police department in 1915, when a police commission consisting of three men, one appointed for three years, one for two years, and one for one year, was appointed. On July 12 of that year, the first Manchester Police Commission, with Ex-Chief John F. Sheriden, Philip Cheney and Gilbert E. Willis as commissioners, was charged with handling all police affairs and appointments.

The first Manchester police officer to give his life in the line of duty was William Madden. Madden, considered by many to be Manchester's finest all-around athlete ever, had lettered in football, baseball, basketball, and track in each of his high school years, and had been named Trinity College's top athlete in each of his four years there. He had been a patrolman since 1908, and was appointed captain in 1912.

On January 30, 1919, Madden received information from a railroad detective that a gang of New Jersey thieves were on a train heading for Manchester to steal a $100,000 consignment of raw silk from Cheney Brothers.

Madden and Clifton Macomber, a special officer, had stationed themselves near the silk vaults off Pine Street. Around midnight, a black touring car with New Jersey plates, pulled into the Cheney complex. The thieves were casing out a brick silk vault of Elm Terrace when the officers confronted them. "We know what your game is and you're not going to get away with it," growled Madden as he ordered the gang back into their car at gunpoint. Commanding one of the thugs to drive, Madden and Macomber hopped onto the driver's side running boards to escort them to the Pine Street firehouse for questioning.

As the driver began to pick up speed, he jerked the steering wheel to try to dump the cops. At the same moment, one of the suspects in the rear seat pulled out a hidden pistol and fired at Madden. "It's about time you fellows got off," the shooter said as he squeezed the trigger. Madden swiped at the gun's barrel, forcing a misfire but he couldn't dodge the point-blank shots that followed. At Pine and Pleasant, he slumped off the car. As he lay bleeding in the street, Madden emptied his revolver at the speeding getaway car. Macomber, who had dived off the running board and avoided the gunfire, did the same. Madden had been struck with a single bullet which had entered his upper arm and pierced his heart. Madden's last words to his partner were a plea for water. By the time Macomber returned with a bottle from a nearby stock house, Madden was dead, his head resting on the granite curb.

The bandits drove into Hartford and were spotted by Hartford P.D. Officer Daniel Ahern who commandeered a car and gave chase. The bandits, all railroad men, rolled off the running board of the touring car while it was traveling at better than 50 miles an hour. Fred Klein, the driver, was captured when Ahern rammed the vehicle on Franklin Avenue.

Klein, in what was later described as a "third degree session." unconsciously tipped off the police that one of the other thieves was William Miller. The officers knew Miller and he was caught in New Haven. John Neuss and Michael McDonnell were captured in Hoboken, New Jersey in a raid on the Hell's Hole Saloon. McDonnell was reported to be the unofficial leader of the gang. The saloon's owner, William Bessler, was also arrested. He was the driver of a four-ton truck waiting to haul away the silk.
The other two men in the car, James and John "Jocko" Moore, escaped capture and reportedly fled on a boat to South America. It was "Jocko" who fired the shot that killed Madden. All five were sentenced to life imprisonment in the state prison in Wethersfield. Neuss served 21 years before receiving parole; William Miller was paroled after serving 19 years.

Significant changes and advancements in the area of police equipment occurred in the late 1920s. The department obtained its first police cruiser in 1920. In 1923, a Gamewell call box system was installed at an expense of $11,000. Fourteen street signal police alarm boxes were placed at various locations throughout town. The red police call boxes were located on the same standard as the fire department box alarms. Prior to the installation of the Gamewell system, the officer on duty in the south end had to inspect, wind, and insert time cards in patrolmen's time clock boxes which were located at points on the local streets. There was no police officer on duty in the Hall of Records, the site of the police department, until after the installation of the Gamewell system.

With this system, officers were required to call headquarters every hour to check for instructions. If an officer was needed for an emergency, a red light on the top of the box could be activated from police headquarters. It was an unwritten rule that an officer had ten minutes to answer the call box or he would have to explain to the sergeant why he did not observe the red light. A paper tape was punched at headquarters when the beat officer activated the device.

After some time, the Gamewell devices were replaced in the red call boxes with a telephone hookup to headquarters. This "call box" phone system was used until 1973, when the last two boxes were removed from Main Street.

In 1927, a teletype system was installed at police headquarters. This connected the Manchester Police Department with the other local police departments on the teletype line and with the State Police. Connecticut was the first state in the nation with a state-wide teletype system.

It was in 1925, that the town started to provide each officer with a clothing and equipment allowance from which he purchased his equipment. Before 1925, the only equipment furnished by the town was the police badge and hat badge. The officers themselves had to buy their uniforms, handcuffs, nightsticks and flashlights. An officer had to furnish three complete uniforms for seasonal wear - a summer outfit, a somewhat heavier one for early spring wear and a heavy outfit with overcoat for winter wear. The officer also wore the old fashioned helmet - a gray one for summer wear and a blue helmet for winter.

In 1925, the force consisted of 5 regular officers and 12 supernumeraries. The budget was $30,585, and Chief Gordon received a salary of $3,015. The motor vehicle fleet consisted of a 1925 Studebaker and three motorcycles.

In 1923, Patrolman William G. Glenney, who had been a member of the force for over 18 years, became ill and later died while still a member of the department. His illness and death, and the death of Captain Madden were the cause of the formation of the Manchester Police Mutual Aid Association. "Under present conditions, men of the force, who were compelled through sickness or accident to be unable to perform their regular duties, lose their compensation, as the Town only pays wages to those who are able to work." The Mutual Aid Association, organized in 1925 with $2,000 proceeds from a benefit performance at the Circle Theater, was a means of providing financial assistance to the members of the department in case of sickness or accident, and to their families in case of death.

In 1923, the town's centennial year, a book, "Who's Who in Manchester, Connecticut." was published. It included the following description for Chief Gordon - "His integrity has never been doubted. His character is irreproachable. He is an honest and faithful public servant." The book included a biographical summary for Officer Glenney which ended. "He will be remembered for a long time as one of the best police officers who ever served his town and fellow townsmen in Manchester."

In 1927, Chief Gordon and Lieutenant William Barron set up the Manchester Police Department's first fingerprint file. This file contained over 1,000 sets of fingerprints and was used to solve several serious crimes of the time.

The most famous of the early fingerprint cases was "Manchester's Tong Murder" - so-called because the murder was a contract killing resulting from combat between two Chinese secret societies, or gangs, the On Leong Tong and the Hip Sing Tong.

In the early morning of March 24, 1927, Ong Geng Hem, an employee of the Sam Ong Laundry, was shot to death by Chin Lung. Chin and an accomplice Soo Hoo Wing had come into Manchester by taxi from Hartford. Chin had entered the laundry, had shot Ong Geng Hem, and had run from the scene. Sam Ong ran out of his laundry screaming, "Chinaman shot my cousin - catch him." Men who worked on Oak Street gave chase to Main Street, but the taxi carrying the two Chinese men had pulled away. A woman on her way to work hurried to Main Street and used a pay phone to call the police. Patrolman Albert Roberts fielded the call at 7:20 a.m., jumped in a car, and drove to the scene. After a look at the scene, he returned to the station and, by phone and teletype, alerted other police departments and the State Police with the description "two Chinamen in a taxicab." Hours later, Chin and Soo were captured in New Haven when a traffic officer there spotted two Chinese men in a taxi.

Police found a .32 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver burrowed into a barrel of rice near the laundry exit. At trial, the state's firearms expert testified that this was the weapon used in the commission of the murder. The state's fingerprint expert testified that the murder weapon contained the left middle fingerprint of Soo Hoo Wing.

This case was the first time in Connecticut's history that fingerprint evidence was presented before a superior court jury in a murder trial. The two men were convicted of first degree murder. The conviction was appealed in State vs. Chin Lung and was argued before the state Supreme Court of Errors. The defense charged that the court erred in not excluding from the jury all evidence and testimony having to do with fingerprints. The use of fingerprint evidence was upheld and the two men were executed by hanging on November 8, 1927.

By 1933, the department under Chief Gordon included Capt. Herman O. Schendel, Lt. William A. Barron, Sgt. John J. McGlinn, ten patrolmen, and five supernumeraries. The police department had five pieces of motor vehicle equipment.

 

1930-1966

 

By 1940, the police department had expanded to 25 men (a roster of 17 regulars and eight supernumeraries). The 17 regulars were:

Chief Gordon, Capt. Schendel, Sgt. John J. McGlinn, Lt. Barron, Sgt. Michael F. Fitzgerald, Raymond F. Griffin, David F. Galligan, Herman A. Muske, Harold V. Heffron, Lester E. Behrend, John L. Cavagnaro, Arthur P. Seymour, Lucius A. Thrall, Rudolph Wirtalla, Walter R. Cassells Sr., Joseph A. Prentice, and Winfield. R. Martin.

The 1940 gross budget was $48, 235, with the chief's salary being $3,372 and captain's pay being $2,618. During that year, there were 1,370 messages sent via radio to police cars; 309 auto accidents were investigated; the department's motorcycles covered 7,543 miles and three cruisers covered 148,521 miles during patrol and case operations, plus special traveling such as parades and funerals; 842 complaints were investigated and 324 street lights were reported burned out and had to be replaced.

It was in 1940, that the Manchester Police commissioners authorized the purchase and installation of a modern two-way short wave radio system. This system enabled the police station desk at the Hall of Records to maintain contact with the three radio-equipped cruisers operated by the town. Prior to this system, the cruisers had radios which resembled telephones and were very poor receivers. Before transmitting, a button had to be pushed which would allow the radio to warm up.

In 1947, the Town of Manchester adopted the council-manager form of government. This change marked the end of the Board of Police commissioners, which was dissolved. The last commissioners to serve on the board were Joseph G. Pero, Jay E. Rand, and William P. Quish.

In 1947, Chief Gordon retired after 39 years of service. Police Captain Herman O. Schendel took the oath of office as police chief on November 22, 1947, and assumed command of 20 regular officers and 15 supernumeraries, and a budget of $77,390.

Schendel was a 20-year veteran of the department. He had served as a supernumerary in 1914, and had become a regular in 1915. He resigned in 1918, and was reappointed in 1920, at which time he was made a captain.

Under Chief Schendel, a probationary patrolman was required to work, for their first year, 365 consecutive days, with no days off. Regular officers worked a six-day week. Probationary patrolmen received the same weekly pay for their seven-day work week as the regulars received for their six-day week. Both veteran and probationary officers were required to work double shifts. Under Chief Schendel, if an officer was involved in an accident with a cruiser, the officer was made to pay for the damage. Schendel instituted many innovations to the department: 24-hour-a-day patrols, a new system of police record-keeping, a rigid police training program, canine units, and the use of new equipment, including radar systems for highway patrols.

The police department had taken over the entire Hall of Records building in 1930, when the town clerk and probate moved into the Municipal Building at 41 Center Street. In November 1953, architect Arnold Lawrence was hired by the town to prepare plans and specifications for remodeling the town's old Almshouse, on East Middle Turnpike, into a new police station.

The Almshouse, better known as the Town Farm, was a town-operated home for the poor and elderly, which had been in operation for 50 years when it closed in 1953. The 40-room, T-shaped, two story wood and brick structure was in a sad state of repair, and a contractor estimated it would cost $150,000 to remodel the building. Schendel remodeled the building at a cost of $75,000 with the help of a crew of volunteers, including off-duty auxiliary police and regular officers, and by haggling for materials.

The police headquarters was moved from the Hall of Records into its new location, at 239 East Middle Turnpike, in 1954. The renovated building included eight cells, a shooting range, an up-to-date service garage for police department vehicles, and a court room and offices for the Circuit Court.
From 1958 to 1959, under Chief Schendel, the department had eight trained dogs. These German shepherds were assigned to men on a voluntary basis, and were personally raised and trained by Chief Schendel, who was a professional dog trainer and author of many books on the subject.

In September of 1958, Chief Schendel retired from active duty. An open competitive examination was conducted to fill the position of chief, which meant that, for the first time, a chief could be selected from the ranks of any police department. James M. Reardon, a Manchester native and State Police lieutenant, was chosen from 16 applicants and was sworn in as the fourth Manchester police chief on January 5, 1959.

Reardon was born and raised in Manchester and had worked at the Cheney Brothers mill before joining the State Police Department in 1936. He was attached to the Groton Troop until 1942, when a citation for his work in cracking an arson case, involving $5 million worth of fires in Southern New England, led to his transfer to the Hartford Troop. He was assigned to the Fire Marshal's Division, and rose to the rank of lieutenant by 1958.

Chief Reardon, with a starting salary of $7,982, assumed command of a force of 40 men, eight cruisers, one motorcycle, and one emergency truck. Reardon marked himself, from the onset of his command, as a progressive-minded individual who made many changes in the department.

One of the first major changes Chief Reardon made was to distinctively mark the police cruisers with white doors and a red light mounted on the roof. He also removed the last motorcycle from the road in 1960. Other innovations during his first years as chief were the dropping of the north end walking beat, the addition of five new patrolmen, the purchase of the department's first walkie-talkie radios, and a contract to have the cruisers washed each day.

In 1959, Reardon informally organized a detective bureau. he placed veteran Sergeant Joseph Sartor in charge of the newly-formed investigating unit, which was staffed by officers assigned on a 30-day rotating basis, until September 1959, when Officer Thomas Graham was promoted to the rank of detective. In 1965, the Detective Division was formally established with Joseph Sartor, as a lieutenant, in charge.

By 1961, the department's budget had risen to $399,900 and chief Reardon had added six new men and a new cruiser. Those figures rose to $438,000 with 47 officers, 10 cruisers, and two trucks for 1963. In 1964, Reardon eliminated the seven-day week workload, and implemented a 6/2 schedule in which the officer worked a 40-hour week with seven-week shifts.

Reardon had a new records system implemented in 1961. The system originated from a survey made by the Committee on uniform Crime Records of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). It included a consolidated daily report of police activities and a statistical record of criminal and motor vehicle cases. It also provided for a running account and record of all police work.

The department had one of the best police department photo laboratories and dark rooms in the state at this time. more than a dozen men on the police force were qualified photographers, and accident and crime scene photographs were developed in-house.

in 1966, Mr. Edwin Hyjek designed a new seal for the Town of Manchester. This seal design, a maroon mulberry tree on a yellow/orange background, was the pattern for the department's shoulder patch, which replaced the original (1957) Manchester patch, which had been based on a generic patch used by many departments in the state. The patch was blue and gray with the Connecticut State Seal in the center and the words "Manchester Police Conn," above and below. The auxiliary patch was powder blue.

Reardon was a proponent of women in policing and created the position of policewoman in 1966. Patricia Graves, who had been a store detective at G. Fox and Co. in Hartford, was hired as the first policewoman on the force on May 5, 1966. Policewoman Graves was assigned to the detective division and handled all cases involving women, sex crimes, and juveniles.

 

1968-1975

 

In 1968, the budget for the police had risen to $744,794, for the department's 62 officers and equipment. In his budget proposal for that year, Chief Reardon had asked for four new patrolmen, one civilian mechanic, two civilian dispatchers, an additional two cruisers, and an emergency truck. He cited the expansion of business and population in all sections of town, the growing traffic problems, and the relocation of Route 6, as reasons for his budget requests.

Reardon was also a proponent of education for police officers. He and Tom Connors of Manchester community College were instrumental in arranging a scholarship fund for police officers. In 1969, eight officers were awarded scholarships for attending Manchester Community College. Chief Reardon went to great lengths to encourage his officers to continue their education, and encouraged them to take advantage of the L.E.A.A. funds available for higher education.

It was at Chief Reardon's direction that Lieutenant Robert Lannan began the planning for a Regional Police Academy that would provide in-service training to the officers of Manchester, East Hartford, South Windsor, Glastonbury, Coventry, and Vernon.

The funds for this academy were made available by the passing of the Omnibus Crime Bill in April of 1970. The first grant obtained by Lannan was from the United States Department of Transportation, and the second grant came from the Law Enforcement Assistance Administr5ation. The funds from the L.E.A.A. grant were used primarily for equipment.

The Regional Academy, know by all who attended as "Lannan U," started classes in December 1970, in a well-equipped classroom on the second floor of the police station. The instructors included specially trained members of the participating police departments and members of state and federal agencies. The curriculum covered a wide variety of subjects, including: Narcotics Investigations, taught by Mickey Camilleri of the State Consumer Protection agency; Criminal and Court Procedures, by Prosecutor William Collins of the Circuit court; and Firearms and Self-Defense Tactics, by Special Agent John Danaher of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Manchester Mutual Aid Association, or Police club, had represented the police officers from 1951 until April 1969, when the 45 policemen signed and application to join Council 15 of the State, County, and Municipal Employees Union, AFL-CIO. On May 29, 1969, Officer Samuel Maltempo was elected president of the police union.

The concern generated in the late 1960's by the growth of heroin addiction, and the resulting sharp increase in burglaries and larcenies was addressed in the Hartford region by the creation of the Capitol Region Crime Squad. The squad, with two supervisors from the Hartford Police Department and 17 undercover agents assigned from municipal police departments, conducted undercover narcotics operations throughout the 29 town region. Officer Ronald L. Roberts was the first Manchester officer assigned to the squad, and worked undercover from December 1969 to May 1, 1971. Arrested once by another police department, Roberts spent the weekend in jail, rather than "blow his cover." Officer Wayne Rautenberg was assigned to the squad from July 1972 to February 1973.

Prior to 1972, all juveniles apprehended by the police for criminal activity or for being a runaway were referred to Juvenile Court. As a result, in the early 1970's, the Juvenile Court was overwhelmed by the volume of juvenile referrals. Recognizing the need for a specialized program to deal with the increasing number of juvenile offenders, a federal grant was obtained for the position of youth services officer. Policewoman graves was assigned this new position. The policewoman position was filled in February 1972, when Susan Gibbens was hired.
Women wanting careers in law enforcement had been limited to the rank of policewoman until the mid-1970's, when a number of court decisions allowed women to compete with male applicants for entry-level patrol positions. Audrey Paradis competed with male applicants for a patrol officer's position. Paradis was sworn in as Manchester's first female patrol officer in September, 1974. The position of policewoman was retired when Policewoman Gibbens was promoted, after a competitive exam with male officers, to the rank of detective in August 1975.

In 1973, another federal grant was awarded to Manchester, and a highly complex, multidimensional radio communications system was designed and installed. This was one of many federal grants obtained through the efforts of Lieutenant Richard Sartor. The new communications system gave the Manchester Police Department advanced capabilities, and provided for town-wide radio coverage and "Code 5" (scrambled transmissions which could not be deciphered by radio scanners). The system also allowed a dispatcher to sound a cruiser's horn remotely. It was at this same time that the teletype system, which had been utilized since 1927, was retired and replaced by a video CRT system.

Civilians were hired as dispatchers for this new communications system, thus relieving regular officers for police duties. One unique aspect of the grant was the provision that the civilian dispatchers were to be disabled armed services veterans. The dispatchers hired under this grant were Timothy McCann (Vietnam), Ronald Lipp (Vietnam), and Victor Dubaldo (World War II).

In 1973/1974, the Manchester Police Department consisted of 80 sworn policemen; 16 civilians (10 men and six women); two mechanics (two others were sworn policemen); two custodians; and 31 part-time school crossing guards. The fleet consisted of 17 police cruisers and four police trucks. The police budget was $1,374,000.

In February 1974, the position of community relations officer was funded under a $12,000 grant from the federal L.E.A.A. program. This was a demonstration program to establish effective and meaningful communications between the police and community. Officer Russ Holyfield was assigned to the position of community relations officer on March 4, 1974.

Chief Reardon had instituted a 6-patrol district system in 1971, which was to provide more adequate coverage for the town. in June 1974, this three-year-old six-district system was redesigned and expanded to seven districts.

A Federal Highway Administration grant was awarded to Manchester in March 1975. With $36,000 for officer salaries, two cruisers, and a $1,000 Doplar radar gun, the Traffic Services Bureau, or "Traffic Squad," with two members, Officer John Marvin and Officer Gary Wood, was created. With the goal of reducing the number of motor vehicle accidents and injuries, through the use of selective enforcement and community awareness programs, the Doplar radar was used with great success. The first day of its use, by Officer John Marvin, resulted in the arrest of four speeders in a school zone on Spruce Street in a four-hour period.

Chief Reardon retired on February 28, 1975. Patrol Division Captain George McCaughey, who had been promoted to the rank of captain in 1963, was named interim chief. Lieutenant Robert Lannan was promoted to chief of police on April 4, 1975. Lannan, who had served three years in the U.S. Navy, had joined the force on October 14, 1957. He earned an associate's degree at Manchester Community College in 1971, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Police Administration from the University of Hartford in 1974. He attended the FBI's National Academy in 1972, and was the first local officer to do so since the 1940's.

 

1976-1994

 

In June 1976, the Court of Common Pleas, which occupied the second floor of the police station (except the four offices in the south wing), relocated to East Hartford. Federal funding was obtained and major renovations were made to the building and a two story wing, with a cell block of 10 cells and processing and interview rooms, was added. At this same time, the communications system was modified and the E911 emergency phone system was implemented. The ribbon-cutting ceremony for this "new and improved" facility was held on Sunday, October 29, 1979.

In 1979, the decision was made to create a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Team in the department. Sergeants Russ Holyfield and Roy Abbie, and Officers Joseph Amato, Richard Busick, John Marvin, and Gary Schwartz were chosen for this team. They received specialized training in firearms, building entry, and repelling, and received advanced training with the FBI's SWAT teams.

In 1977, the department was awarded a $170,000 grant for the L.E.A.A. for a mini-computer. A Digital Equipment Corporation PDP 1170 computer was purchased, and "dumb" terminals were installed throughout the building. A database software package called ADMINS 11, which had been developed by two MIT researchers, was acquired and two officers, Gary Minor and John Hanley, were assigned to design and implement a system of record keeping and retrieval for the Manchester Police Department.

In 1981, one of the data processing positions was "civilianized," and a civilian computer programmer, Richard Smith, was hired. Manchester's computer system evolved, and in 1984, the PDP 1170 was replaced with a DEC VAX 11/750 computer.

The ADMINS software was used until 1990, when the department purchased and integrated records and CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) software package called CHIEFS. An IBM AS/400 Model B35 was purchased to run the CHIEFS application.

Motorcycles had been a part of the department's equipment for more than 30 years. The department's first Harley Davidson motorcycle was driven by Lieutenant Raymond Griffen and Captain Walter Cassels Sr., and the last machine was operated by Patrolman John Baldyga in 1960. Motorcycles made a brief comeback in July 1981 when three 1000cc Kawasaki motorcycles were purchased and a 12 member team was selected.

The team members were: Russ Holyfield, Roy Abbie, Beau Thurnauer, Ed Wilson, Larry Wilson, Robert McNeilly, Wayne Rautenberg, Thomas Passcantell, Howard Beeler, Joseph Amato, Alan Young, and Thomas Holben. Officer Robert Johnson, a certified motorcycle instructor, coordinated the motorcycle training, which included curriculum developed by the California Highway Patrol. A variety of factors, including attrition of the team members through promotions, and the New England weather, resulted in the disuse of the motorcycles. The official end of motorcycle use occurred in March 1993, when the department's five motorcycles (the three Kawasakis and two Yamahas, which had been used for training) were put on the auction block.

From October 1981 to December 1982, Officer Joseph Morrissey was assigned to the Statewide Narcotics Task Force as and undercover officer. Operation MAD ("Manchester Against Drugs") was conducted at the completion of this assignment. Forty-one arrest warrants and a number of search warrants were served in a 24-hour period as a result of the undercover buys made in Manchester during Morrissey's tenure.

In 1983, The Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association of Connecticut (NEOA) presented the Robert F. Stankye Award to Captain James Sweeney for outstanding work in combating drug abuse. Captain Sweeney had assigned three full time investigators to narcotics when he took command of the detective division. He tripled the "but money" available to investigators, purchased surveillance equipment, and obtained undercover cars from local car dealerships to allow for more intensive investigations.
In 1984, Officer Wayne Rautenberg was presented the the NEOA's Robert F. Stankye award. Rautenberg had posed as a crooked cop during a four-month investigation, which led to the break up of a Colombian cocaine ring in 1983, and the seizure of several million dollars in cash and cocaine by FBI and DEA.

In 1986, Lieutenant Russ Holyfield proposed the creation of a multi-jurisdictional task force to investigate narcotics activity in the Manchester-Vernon-South Windsor area. In July 1986, Chief Lannan entered into a "secret" agreement with Chief Gary Kology of Vernon and Chief Gary Tyler of South Windsor, and formed the Tri-Town Narcotics Task Force, which was the first multi-jurisdictional drug task force in the state. The task force was composed of members from each of the three police departments. Each TNT member was sworn in all three towns, giving them arrest powers in the Tri-Town area.

The original TNT unit's Manchester members were Lieutenant Russ Holyfield, Sergeant Donald Wright, Sergeant Spence Frazee, Detective Joseph Morrissey, and Officer Wayne Rautenberg. SWPD Officer Paul Taft and Vernon Officer Mike Greenier completed the team. This task force was given the authority to work a narcotics case anywhere in the state, provided it could be shown the drugs were coming into the tri-town area. One of the team's first cases started with one arrest in Manchester based on a dirty mirror, and progressed to Vernon and an ounce of cocaine, and to Danbury and New York City, and finally to the FBI seizure of multi-kilograms of cocaine in the Dominican Republic.

The Manchester Police Department contacted the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (C.A.L.E.A.) on its accreditation process during 1986. Beginning on February 9, 1987, a five man team, ably assisted by Terry Falco, began rewriting and revising the department's rules, regulations, and general orders. This prep-team began its activities with Sergeant Beau Thurnaeur, Sergeant Roy Abbie, Detective Ed Wilson, Officer Peter Moskal, and Officer John Pikiell writing general orders addressing a myriad of topics. The final accreditation team members were Lieutenant Beau Thurnaeur, Detective Peter Moskal, and Mrs. Terry Falco. The Manchester Police Department received initial accredited status on November 18, 1989, at the commission meeting in Houston, Texas. Manchester was the 126th department to be accredited by C.A.L.E.A. and was only the third police department in Connecticut to be so accredited. Manchester received reaccredited status on November 18, 1994, during a commission meeting in San Francisco, California. The reaccreditation team members were Captain Beau Thurnaeur and Officer Paul Gilligan.

In January 1990, through the initiative of Community Relations/Crime Prevention Officer Gary Frost, the police department and the board of education incorporated a new drug education program into the town's elementary schools. The program, called D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), was founded in San Diego, California in 1983. In 1989, Officer Frost approached Assistant Superintendent Allen Chesterton of the Manchester Board of Education with the idea of introducing D.A.R.E. into the school system. Assistant Superintendent Chesterton was very supportive of the program. The partnership was consummated when Chief Robert Lannan gave his approval. Officer Frost wrote a grant for the money needed to purchase workbooks and other supplies essential to the program. D.A.R.E. lessons, taught by veteran officers in a 17 class format, focus on four areas: providing accurate information about alcohol and drugs; teaching students decision-making skills; showing children how to resist peer pressure; and providing them with alternatives to drug use. Officers Steven Novak and Max Cohen were the first instructors trained and began teaching at the inception on the program in January 1990. Officer Josh Searle joined Officers Novak and Cohen during the 1990/1991 school year, as they provided instructed in every 6th grade in the town's 10 elementary schools. Officer Frost continued with the program in a coordinator capacity until his promotion to Detective in 1991.

Chief Robert Lannan suffered a heart attack in April 1990, and retired on January 31, 1992. Henry "Bud" Minor, who had served as acting chief during Lannan's illness, was sworn in as Manchester's sixth chief of police on July 17, 1992. Minor, who had joined the Manchester Police Department on September 4, 1966, and had held every rank in the department from patrolman to deputy chief, was chosen from a field of 113 candidates in a national search. Minor assumed command of a department with 99 sworn officers, 29 civilian employees, and a budget of $8,002,358. In his swearing-in ceremony address, Minor enumerated his goals of increasing the patrol staff, improving the technology available to the department, and replacing the headquarters building.

 

1991-1996

 

In 1991, the department conducted a study on the feasibility of the implementation of a community policing approach in Manchester. One aspect of the study was an analysis of the total number of police service calls and the locations for those calls.

This analysis found that 53% of the department's total calls for services were directed to the "downtown" area, which contained approximately 22% of the town's population. In other words, one-quarter of the town's population drew more than half the police services. It was decided that the best approach to utilize, in its first step to applying a community policing philosophy in Manchester, would be a pilot program in the Eastside, or Spruce Street neighborhood. Two officers, John Wilson and Joseph San Antonio, were selected as "police area representatives" or PAR officers, and they began "walking the beat" in August 1992.

On May 13, 1993, during National Police Week, the name of William F. Madden was added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. This recognition of Madden, who was killed in 1919, was the direct result of the efforts of Department Historian Officer Josh Searle and Officer Michael Swetzes. Their research had dispelled the confusion about Madden's status (police officer or security guard) at the time of his murder, and proved that he was a sworn officer with powers of arrest under the existing town charter and ordinances when he was killed in the line of duty.

 

In 1993, Manchester was awarded a grant under the Department of Justice Police Hiring Supplement Program and two officers, Alan Young and Bruce Chaput, were selected as police area representatives for the "Westside" neighborhood. Sergeant Gary Benson, who had been instrumental in the planning and implementation of this community policing pilot program, was assigned as the supervisor for the PAR officers. The Westside PAR officers began in March 1994.

 

 

The department's officers were issued a new uniform in May 1994. A dark blue uniform replaced the dark blue pants and gray shirts, which had been the department uniform for decades. At the same time, a new shoulder patch was issued, which replaced the 1966 Mulberry Tree patch. This new patch shows the Hop Brook Mill (built in 1838 as the silk mill of the Cheney Brothers factory), and a Mulberry Tree (whose leaves were the primary food of silkworms.).

Between 1988 and 1994, there were four separate studies on the question of a new police facility. the conclusion of all four studies was that the current facility was antiquated and woefully inadequate. The final study proposed a two-story structure, designed to be compatible with the neighborhood, to replace the existing facility on the same site.


On Tuesday, November 8, 1994, the electors of Manchester were asked to vote on Referendum Question #1: Shall the Town appropriate an amount not to exceed $7,875,000 to pay for the construction of a police facility at 239 East Middle Turnpike, Manchester and demolition of the existing facility to be financed by general obligation bonds and notes of the Town?"

The voters of Manchester passed Referendum Question #1 by a 2 to 1 margin (10,768 "yes" votes to 4,927 "no" votes). The ground-breaking ceremony for the new police facility was held on September 28, 1995.

In 1995, a new civilian position, called Police Services Aide (PSA) was created to handle the routine activities being performed by sworn officers. The purpose of this position was to enable the sworn officers to remain "on the street" instead of at Headquarters doing paperwork. The first two PSAs were Susan Lowry, hired in July, and Thomas O'Connor, hired in September.

 

In 1995, the Manchester Police was awarded funding under two new grant programs implemented by the U.S. Department of Justice-Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. The COPS AHEAD (Accelerated Hiring, Education, and Deployment) grant provided $225,000 for the partial funding of three new officers. The COPS MORE (Making Officer Redeployment Effective) grant provided $302,421 for funding four civilian Police Services Aide positions ($95,511) and a Mobile Data System ($206,910).

In 1996, the Department, which had experimented with a canine unit in 1958/59, purchased a German shepherd and implemented a new canine program. Officer Gary Minor was selected as the canine handler for Veko. They began their specialized training in January 1996 and started patrol on March 31, 1996.

 

In 1995 there were a total of 62,577 calls for service handled by Manchester's officers. Of those, 10,362 were investigations and 2,646 were criminal arrests. There were 2,323 motor vehicle accidents investigated and 5,836 motor vehicle arrests. The total mileage patrolled by department cruisers was 602,000 miles.

 

The police budget for Fiscal year 1996/1997 was $10,204,060. The authorized strength of the department was 113 sworn officers and 34 1/2 civilian employees. The police fleet consisted of 62 vehicles.

The Manchester Police Department celebrated its 100th Anniversary on October 5, 1996. It is unknown what law enforcement will be like in the next millennium. If the past 100 years are indicative of the future, many changes will occur. It will be an exciting challenge for the men and women who are fortunate to become members of the Manchester Police Department.

 

NEW CONTENT COMING SOON.

 

Interactive Book

Book

 

HDI Memorial

AWARDS

Dedicated to those who lost their lives on August 3rd, 2010

Past Chiefs