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History of the Norwich City Police Department

100 Years of service sealThe Norwich City Police Department has a long and proud history of service to the Norwich community. The Police Force has been in existence, 24 hours a day continuously since April 13, 1900. 1905 Norwich Police DepartmentPrior to the full time paid force, the then Village of Norwich trustees appointed part-time "constables" on an as needed basis. The Chenango County Sheriff and his deputies provided day to day law enforcement for Norwich. As the Village continued to grow with a canal and two busy railroads, numerous hotels and houses of spirits, the Village trustees determined it was time for around the clock dedicated police protection.

Duty schedules of early Patrolmen were grueling compared to today's standards. The three original Officers were on duty 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Patrolman Lewis and boy 1905Two officers worked foot patrol from 6:00 PM until 6:00 AM, and a single officer worked 6:00 AM until 6:00 PM. The Chief of Police in the early days was the Mayor of the Village. A notable event during this period was the Memorial Day 1907 shooting of Patrolman Neil Lewis.
Ptlm. Lewis was shot three times attempting to arrest a mentally disturbed man. Ptlm. Lewis survived his wounds, but never returned to duty.

Old Police Station 1900-1999In 1902 The Police Force had its headquarters in the Municipal building located at 31 East Main St. This building housed all municipal departments until 1990.

In 1914 the growth of Norwich was evident and the Village petitioned the state to become a City. The police force was now known as the "City Police Force". Duty in this decade was highlighted by successfully policing the O&W railroad yards where tons of WWI supplies passed. At this time "State Vagrants" or Hobos were a constant policing problem in and around the railroad yards. These hobos raided nearby homes and gardens and one transient murdered a young girl near the railroad tracks on Division Street.

During the depression era of the 1930s the Police Force was active with the federal laws prohibiting the manufacture of alcoholic beverages. A notable event was the leveling of a building on Lackawanna Avenue when a basement still went unattended and exploded.

1941 Norwich Police DepartmentThrough the World War Two years the Norwich Police were very active. Train loads of German and Italian prisoners of war often stopped in Norwich, then a hub of the O&W railroad and the Erie Lackawanna Railroad. Norwich Police officers along with on board MPs guarded these trains during layovers in the City. Another war duty was escorting US Army convoys to and from Fort Drum, NY. The Norwich Police had grown to 10 officers.

1963 RADAR setupThrough the 1950s, 60s and 70s the Police Force continued to grow and modernize. Additions included more officers, then up to 16. Traffic RADAR, three wheeled Harley-Davidson 1967 H-D parking meter scooter"servi-car" and hand-held portable radios were added to our equipment inventory. During this time officers had the duty of policing picket and strike lines at area factories on more than one occasion. The Police Department celebrated the Bicentennial of our Nation by marking our 1976 Chevrolet Novas in patriotic color schemes. In 1979 the City Police hired the first female officer, Sheree Carpenter.

In August of 2000 the Norwich Police Department moved it's operations to 18 East Main Street. The Norwich Police Force of today has 22 full-time officers, state of the art investigative equipment and a modern Police Stationhouse including the City Jail. Specialized training of officers includes; fingerprint computerized comparison, traffic accident reconstruction, SWAT, and crime scene evidence gathering. All officers have been well trained in modern techniques of law enforcement. Most officers are cross-trained in a specialized area of police disciplines to better serve the community. The men and women of the Norwich Police Force enjoy our cooperative relationships with the Chenango County Sheriff's Office and the New York State Police. We will continue to exceed the expectations of those we serve as we enter our second century of service to Norwich.


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