History of LPD
As far back as the news papers go, Lawrenceburg has had some sort of police presence from its very earliest existence. In 1813, a listing of residents identified Samuel Fauncher as its Constable for many years. There is mention in 1821 of a Marshal, whose duties included arresting anyone over 14 years of age who indulged in profanity and fined them $3.00. By the 1850's, Marshal Nesbit also delivered civil process papers in addition to his police duties, and the salary was set for $365.00 a year. A few years later, they upgraded to the new Marshal, J. Calvin Craig with his assistants; John Griffey, Amos Bolander, Washington Howard, and William Howard.By 1867, Lawrenceburg had "watchmen", who may have served as railroad crossing guards in addition there was a Marshal. One of the watchmen was credited with arresting three girls from the neighboring town of Aurora who came to Lawrenceburg driving their horses too fast and using profanity in public. By 1871, there were four watchmen: Hiram Clark, Simeon Alfred, John Godfrey, and Crist Daily.The watchmen's shack was located at William St. and Walnut St. and served as police headquarters until 1935, when it moved to the Harris building across the street.
In 1879, Marsal Nicholas Oberting and Policeman Chris Daily went to a local store and bought new blu uniforms. The local newspaper urged all officers in town to do the same. Blue uniforms were once again in the news in 1891, when Marshal Henry Schinnaman and other police officerrs began wearing them, this time decorated with gold buttons. At this time in the cities history, it was hard to communicate with each other as policeman. They didn't have radios back then. So if a watchmen was walking down the street and spotted someone doing wrong he would go to the electric post that controlled all of the lights and would turn them off an on to alert the others of the crime. In 1893, new rules were put in force. The Marshal was ordered to report to the mayor at the city building on Short Street every morning at 9:00am and his officers would meet with him at the same place every day at 6:00pm. A newspaper noted that salaries for police officers had been raised to $600.00 a year, but the duties now included services as sanitary inspectors.The city continued to hire merchant police until several decades ago. Their duty was to walk the streets at night checking for open doors or signs of a break-in. If so, they would report it to the owners of the city. The business/residence would be watched and also have officers look out for any stolen property.
Telephones may not have been around in the teens of the 1900's to help make police work easier. A 1910 phonebook does not list a telephone for the police, although both fire companies and the fire chief were listed. In 1921, city council ordered a telephone to be installed at the home of policeman Charles Kepper and then in 1929, there was a phone in the watchmen's shack as well as the Marshal's.By 1939, police pay had risen to $1000 a year. For many years not much had changed too much at the department. The department still did not have radios for communication. When a call came in, the watchmen at the electric plant on Third Street would blink the street lights to attract the attention of the officers, who would then report to Newtown on more information about their call.
Presently, the department has 20 sworn officers not including the reserve officers. There are 20 cruisers (Ford Crown Victoria/Dodge Durango/Ford Expedition) and 2 spares. Of the 20 officers, there are 2 investigators and 2 K-9 units. Also we have a CIRT team (Critical Incident Response Team) and a CIRT vehicle for critical situations. The department also has Police bicycles for summer patrol. Other vehicles like a drag racing car, a Kawasaki mule ATV, golf carts, trailers for K-9 demonstrations which are all used for parades, fairs, and demonstration purposes, and undercover narcotics car, and recently purchased two Harley Davidson Electra-glides for motorcycle patrol. The department has two levels. The top floor holds the city court, a clerk's office at the front door, offices, and a squad/ briefing room. The lower floor consists of offices, a break room, an evidence lab, a vault, a full gym/workout area, and wrestling mats and boxing equipment for training for defensive tactics. Also on the lower floor, there is an indoor 3 lane 25 yard shooting range operated by computer. Being a city department in the Hub City of Dearborn County, our jail, dispatch, transport, and water rescue go through the Sheriff's department.
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