Colorado Springs Police Department - CSPM

Colorado Springs Police Department

S.C. Foote was the first (and sole) law enforcement officer in 1872. By 1897, the Colorado Springs Police Department was composed of officers: standing left to right O.E. Rickerson, James McCabe, Horace Shelby, J.A. Rodney, Shannan McNew, Henry Cornell; seated left to right John Henry, Samuel Agard, Chief L.C. Dana, Captain J.W. Gathright, J.H. Elliot; front Row left to right J.E. Burch, Joel Atkinson, W.T. Barr

– From the CSPM Curator of History

After the incorporation of the Town of Colorado Springs, 02 Sep 1872, town trustees appointed its first law enforcement officer, Smith C. Foote. A space was rented for the town government at 122 East Huerfano Street (Colorado Avenue today). The first election was held the following May and Commodore Perry Downing was the first elected Constable. Election were held every year. Constables did not get paid, city trustees said “they were satisfied . . . Officer’s commissions as Collector of Taxes, fees for services . . . obviate the necessity of making any appropriation . . . towards his Salary.”

In 1875 the new city hall at 118 South Nevada Avenue that contained the fire department as well as the constable opened. 04 Mar 1878, an election was held and the incorporation of the City of Colorado Springs and with this change came the law officers now being Marshal’s, who would have police officers under their command. 30 Apr 1888, Horace Shelby, a minority officer was appointed. By 1900 the number of officers had grown from the original 1 to 12. 28 Jun 1896, Officer Benjamin Franklin Bish, while attempting to arrest two burglary suspects, was shot and killed.

Under state law, the 1900 U.S. Census figures qualified Colorado Springs to have a police department. On 15 April. 1901, Vincent King was appointed the first police chief and he had 19 officers. By 1910, the department had 27 officers, a police chief and its first sergeant rank.

In June 1910 a motorcycle was purchased to catch speeders. In 1914 two vehicles were added to the department. In mid 1915, Georgia Easley became the first social investigator for CSPD. December 1935 Deputy Chief Boatright attended the FBI Academy. During 1937 a 3-wheel Harley Davidson motorcycle was purchased for meter patrol. March 1941 the first 2-way radio was installed, call sign KPCS. In 1954 radar was purchased to detect speeders and an alcometer to test for DUI.

In 1966 the first female police officer was hired, Charlotte Mahan. She went on to be the first female sergeant, lieutenant, captain and was the first female to be retired as a police officer. In 1974 a Bell 47 helicopter was put into service. In 1977 a police reserve program began with 35 people. A pastor corps was added to assist officers with people.

In November 1990, uniformed police officers acquired body armor. During 1991, CSPD became nationally accredited. In 1994, CSPD moved to their current location along with four substations. Colorado Springs grew from a population in 1900 of 21,000 and 14 officers, to a current population 486,000 and 739 officers (621 men & 118 women).

Generously Submitted by Dwight Haverkorn, Colorado Springs Native, Former Investigator, CSPD Historian

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