The Stamford Historical Society Presents
Law & Order: The History of the Stamford Police Department 1830-1956 a 2004 Exhibit and more
Do you have a story to tell? Items to donate? If you are familiar with Stamford police history prior to 1956 please contact the Society!
Even though the exhibit has come and gone, we are still interested in information and photos for our archives.
The exhibit follows the department from before its inception—when only part-time constables were employed—through its establishment as a modern police force. Unfortunately, much of the history of the Department prior to 1956 has been lost, so the Society had to rely on the recollections of former officers and patrolmen, and their families.
If you have any relevant information or materials, or would like to participate in an oral history interview, you may still contact the Society at , or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if we cannot display all photos and other paper material, we would like to scan them so as to add the material to the permanent exhibit archive and possible use on the website.
The Society’s new exhibit on the history of the Stamford Police Department opened Sunday, February 22, 2004. The exhibit covers the period from the formation of the borough of Stamford in 1830 till 1956, when the Police department was moved to its current headquarters on Hoyt and Bedford Streets. During the earlier period from 1830 into the 1870s, order was maintained by a single man who initially held the title warden and, later, bailiff. Town constables are listed in the Annual Register for the State of Connecticut as early as the 1840s.
By 1870 special constables were chosen to maintain law and order. The most famous of these early constables were the Alphonse brothers, who served many consecutive years during the 1870s and 1880s.
The Stamford Department was not officially organized until 1893. It was first headquartered at the Whitney Building, but later moved to Quintard Block on Atlantic Square. After the construction of the new Town Hall in 1907 the police moved there, where they remained until the 1950s. In 1956 the first facility built expressly for the police was completed on Hoyt Street.
In the beginning, there were only a handful of regular police, supplemented by special police, who served as required at 32 cents an hour. Eventually, the department swelled to over 300 by the 1930s and 1940s. The number of ranks also increased. Initially there was a chief only, over time the ranks of captain, lieutenant, sergeant and detective were added.
The first police department had a single horse to drive its ambulance and police wagon. By the 1920’s the department had two cars and a number of motorcycles. Police call boxes were located at important intersections downtown and later radios in cars kept police in communication with headquarters.
The exhibit includes photos never before shown as well as badges, uniforms, a police revolver, billy clubs and other ephemera.