The Beginning: 1800 to 1940
The Beginning: 1800s
Early law enforcement in the Town of Greenburgh was provided by the County Sheriff and part-time Town Constables. The New York Aqueduct Police also maintained law and order in the rowdy construction camps that grew up around the area during the period when the new Croton Aqueduct was being built in the late 1800s.
Town of Greenburgh records show that Town Constables were often appointed when a problem arose at a specific location but their services were quickly terminated when the situation was eliminated. The Sheriff investigated most of the serious crimes and provided deputies for major events. There were no routine patrols to discourage crime and matters usually had to become quite serious before action was taken.
Officially Established: 1909
In 1909, a group of residents from the unincorporated areas of the town petitioned the Town Board for police protection and on January 24th, 1910, under the guidance of Town Supervisor Charles D. Millard, the Greenburgh Police Department was officially established.
During its first months of existence, the force was comprised of four regular police officers and three special officers. They had no headquarters and no automobiles.
Receiving Assignments: 1910
Each policeman received his assignments by telephoning Justice of the Peace Moorehouse at his residence. One horse and one bicycle were provided for use by the department and communications consisted of three telephone call boxes which were located at:
- East Irvington
- Fair Grounds (now called Fairview)
- North Elmsford
First Police Headquarters: 1920
The first Police Headquarters was established in 1920 in a small clapboard building on the property of Justice of the Peace William H. Seely at 155 Old Army Road in Greenville. A chicken coop on the property was often used as a temporary "lock up" for drunks and minor offenders.
In 1917, the police force consisted of seven officers, one captain; one sergeant and five police officers.
Police Vehicles: 1920s
Prior to the 1920s, officers used the trolley line on Tarrytown Road to travel between Glenville and the Fair Grounds but during the 1920s; the department became motorized through the acquisition of an open Model T Ford and motorcycles with sidecars. In cold weather, motorcycle officers stuffed newspapers inside their uniforms to keep warm while those men assigned to drive the patrol car placed a kerosene lantern on the floorboards between their legs.
In 1930, the department, which now had achieved a strength of twenty officers consisting of:
- One captain
- One lieutenant
- Three sergeants
Police officers moved its headquarters to a wood frame building at:
388 Tarrytown Road
The building had originally been a gatehouse for the Fair Grounds and had served as a bar and cabaret prior to occupancy by the police. In 1936, two-way radio communications was established between headquarters and patrol cars and in 1939, the Detective Division was created.
The first two detectives, however, met an unfortunate fate when during an investigation on May 14th, 1940, Detective Sergeants Edward Sullivan and William Moore were gunned down. Sergeant Sullivan died of his wounds and Detective Moore, who received a bullet wound to the chest, was so critically injured that he was unable to continue his police career.