41 West Main Street, Waterloo, NY 13165
The History of the Waterloo Police Department
Prior to the 1928 , the police force consisted of one or sometimes two men, appointed by the Village Board, to serve more or less as watchmen.
In 1928, the Village took the first steps toward establishing a modern Police Department. A chief of Police and one patrolman were appointed. Regular uniforms were worn by the Officers for the first time. The work week was seventy-two hours. A motorcycle was purchased for use by the Department. A call system, using a red light over the bank building located at the “four corners” was innovated and used until 1952.
In 1931, the position of Police Chief was abolished and the Police worked under the direction of the Mayor and Village Board. It must be remembered that the reason for the turnover of members of the police force is that in those times the job was a political appointment, not subject to civil service and when the Village Board changed so were the policemen.
The two-man Department served the village until 1941, when the construction of the Seneca Army Depot and Sampson Naval Base caused an influx of people into the area and a third man was appointed. By now the working hours were down to fifty-six hours per week. Also, in 1941, the Department received its first patrol car. This vehicle was used until 1949.
In 1943, the “Fite” law was passed by the State Legislature putting the Department under Civil Service. This meant that the Officers no longer served at the pleasure of the Village Board, but had a permanent appointment.
In 1949, fourth man was appointed to the force. This allowed for the first time, twenty-four hour coverage for the village. A position of Sergeant was established in 1950.
The red light system gave way in 1952 to radio, although the light was used in conjunction with the radio for several more years. A base station was set up in the village Office and the patrol car equipped with a two-way radio. This radio system proved to be a great advantage in reducing the time required to respond to a call.
In the 50’s, the State Legislature passed a forty-hour work bill affecting Police Departments. In order to set up a work schedule to comply with this law, another officer was appointed. In the early 60’s another officer was added bringing the department to six men. The positions of Investigator and Juvenile Officer were added at this time and the Officers assigned were given special schooling to qualify them for these positions. All members of the Department have attended various police schools such as Basic and Intermediate Training, Burglary Investigation, Sex Crimes, Criminal Procedure and Penal Law, Search and Seizure, Juvenile School, Breathalyzer Use, Traffic Control and Fingerprinting.
Over the years, various items of equipment have been acquired by the Department. A speed timer has given way to a radar for traffic control, a criminal and complaint file is maintained along with a fingerprint file. A second vehicle, equipped with a radio, was put in use and oxygen is carried for emergency use. Teletype service was provided with the cooperation of the State Police.
On September 15, 1986, the Mayor relinquished the Chief’s post and appointed a Provisional Chief. This position became a civil service position with the first Chief’s test offered in April of 1978.
The present chief, Doyle Marquart, was sworn in on August 14, 1978. In October 1978, the Department hired it’s first full-time secretary. This position relieved the patrol officers of the increasing paperwork load and allowed them to be out on the streets more.
In June of 1979, the Police Department purchased a third patrol vehicle, this being an unmarked car. Youth-related problems were increasing and criminal investigations were demanding more of the patrol officer’s time. The Village created a new position of Youth Officer/Criminal Investigator This increased Department size to six Officers to fill in on vacations and illnesses.
The Department continued to advance. Three radar units were now in use in the patrol vehicles. A Breathalyzer was also now Department-owned. Radio communications in the patrol vehicles allow Officers to monitor and call county agencies, surrounding agencies, and NY State Police. The .38 caliber Handguns were replaced with .357 mag. revolvers. Soft body armor was purchased and each Officer issued a vest to be worn at all times.
During the 80’s, the department found it had outgrown the four rooms in use. The Village authorized major office expansion in June of 1984. Construction began shortly thereafter. Efforts to upgrade the skills and administration of the department continue. Computerization of department records took place during 1987 and continues.
In 1993 due to the increased demand for services and increased criminal activity, an additional officer was added, bringing the Police Department to a total of 3 Sergeants, 4 Patrolmen, a Chief, one Clerk and 2 part-time Officers.
The Department continues to develop new programs and obtain added resources. Today the Department provides 24 hour coverage to the residents of the Village of Waterloo, with highly skilled, trained, and well equipped officers.