Safe in 60: Long History Of Policing In Salt Lake City

Feb 25, 2019, 10:01 AM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Did you know the Salt Lake City Police Department is one of the oldest in the country? It was established on March 10, 1851, making it the fourth oldest in the country, behind the Boston Police Department (founded in 1838), the New York City Police Department (1845) and the San Francisco Police Department (1849).

Forty men were appointed to that first department. They were paid 25 cents an hour, or a whopping $2.00 per day. In 1858, wages were raised to $3.oo per day to recruit good men.

In 1889, the department was given a budget of $20,000, had a force of 29 officers and began using their first official uniform.

The first black officer joined the department in 1892. Nicknamed ‘The Gentle Giant’, Paul Cephus Howell stood at nearly 7 feet tall. Detective Howell’s great-grandson, Jake Green, Jr., also later became an officer for the department. He retired in 1985.

Before 1927, the officers didn’t have any formal training, but that year a police school was started to train officers on responsibilities and the first officially issued firearm, a standard .38 revolver.

Today, the Salt Lake City Police Department has 550 police officers and 130 civilian employees. The budget is also bigger now: over $70 million.

Recruits now attend at least five months of police school and undergo several months of field training before becoming an officer. They also attend at least 40 hours of in-service training each year to stay certified.

If you are a history buff and want to learn more about the Salt Lake City Police Department, visit police headquarters downtown to see many historical displays in the lobby. You can also arrange a tour of the police department.

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Safe in 60: Long History Of Policing In Salt Lake City