history of the Police Department in Tiffin dates back to 1821 where the
first recorded Marshal , Louis Popineau was appointed. He had two deputies
at the time, Benjamin Barney and Caleb Rice. State laws where very weak at
this time and often ignored and the judicial system in the area was
strongly rooted in the beliefs of the community.
1824 the first Sheriff of Seneca County
is elected and Agreen Ingraham accepted the position. He was described
as a man of the people who devoted his entire life to the position and
Brish is named as the community of Tiffin's first Marshal but the records are unclear on if he
was elected, appointed, what his duties were, the scope of his authority,
or his working relationship with the elected Sheriff. During its formative
years, Tiffin as other towns struggled to maintain law and order. Although
Marshal Brish may have functioned as Marshal, and there was an elected
Sheriff, most of the area Law Enforcement was controlled by vigilante-type
groups. The Clinton Protective Society was organized in 1846 and the ranks
of its membership swelled until 1886, when three hundred and forty-four
were part of the band.
influential citizens of Tiffin were aware that an orderly transition from
vigilante law to government law was required for the establishment of a
stable law enforcement agency necessary for the growth of a prosperous and
In 1851 S.H. Kissinger was the first recorded
Marshal elected in Tiffin (which is comparable to today's Chief of Police)
and the first Police Department was formed. Among its first Patrolmen
- Charles Brish
- George Miller
- Amos Nicholas
- Isaac Robb
- I.J.C. Shoemaker
suffered typical post Civil War economical problems. Thus a Police
Department did not exist from April to November during the year 1872. The
mayor had to appoint 90 additional special constables during this time to
cover the void. When
the monetary problems were solved and re-organization took place, the
following three men were listed as its Patrolmen:
- Charles Brish
- James Hennessay
- Isaac Robb
earliest known photograph of the Tiffin Police Department Patrolmen (shown
above) is from 1882 and showed the following Patrolmen:
- Charles Brish
- Marshal James George
- Jerome Lamberston
- Pat Sweeney
first recorded officer duty related death dates back to October 25th,
1895. On this date a man reported to Marshal Shultz that a man was acting
strange with a pistol on a farm North of Tiffin. Marshal Shultz and
Patrolman Sweeney went to that location in a horse drawn buggy. As
reported, Lee Martin was found in a field with a gun in his hand. Marshal
Shultz approached in an attempt to talk to Martin and a scuffle ensued and
shots broke out. Shultz fell to the ground mortally wounded. Patrolman
Sweeney subdued Martin and placed the dying Marshal into the buggy and
raced back to Tiffin. Marshal Shultz succumbed to his injuries and Martin
was brought to trial on June 3rd, 1896 and Judge Schuffleburger ordered
his execution by hanging for the murder. While awaiting his execution it
was later changed to a sentence and it is reported that he served his
sentence and was released and lived in Fostoria until he fell off a roof
while repairing it and died.
At the turn of the
century there can be noted little change within the procedures and
activity of law enforcement in Tiffin. However, there was one major
exception in 1903, the first City Civil Service Board was established.
This board made several changes and one of them was changing the title of
Marshal to Chief of Police. The
first Chief of Police, Claude Myers was chosen along with eleven other
March 29th, 1908 another in the line of duty death was recorded. Patrolman
Pat Sweeney, while making his appointed rounds, happened to come across a
burglary in progress. Two ladies observed Patrolman Sweeney climb the
stairs of the Breckley Grocery Store at N. Washington St. and Harrison St.
Shortly thereafter shots were heard coming from the store. A man was
observed fleeing the store and also fired on the two ladies but missed.
Patrolman Sweeney was found, felled by bullets, and was carried into
Brick's Saloon. A doctor was summoned and he advised that Patrolman
Sweeney be transferred to St. Vincent's Hospital in Toledo. Patrolman
Sweeney was then taken by train to Toledo and surgery was performed in an
attempt to save his life, but he died the next day. But before his death
he gave the prosecuting attorney a statement accusing "Butch" Huffman, a
felon who had recently been released from prison in Columbus, and a man
that Patrolman Sweeney had sent there as the one that had shot him.
Pictures of Huffman were circulated, but the man that had snuffed out the
life of a veteran Policeman of thirty-four years on the Tiffin Police
Department, was never found.
By 1915, the Tiffin
Police Departmentpurchased its first patrol vehicle which was driven by Motorcop, Heilman. The
department had a total man power of twelve patrolmen, which were paid an
average of $75 per month and the Chief was paid $90 a month. Locally and nationally there was restlessness
(war being imminent between the U.S.A. and Germany) and economic strain
In 1916 tempers were flaring and at times the influence of the
prohibition advocates were being felt. November 17th, 1916, Chief Myers
was arrested and charged with being drunk by Patrolman Brayman. Chief
Myers countered by saying that he was going hunting. Motorcop Heilman was
appointed Acting Chief of Police. December 6th, 1916, Chief Myers was
suspended officially by the Civil Service Commission. He fought the case,
but left the department March 1917.
next year, 1917 Prohibition is passed by the United States Congress and
later that year the Police Department raided its first speak easy. The
secret location? it was in the basement of the county courthouse! Also
in 1917, the fear of war and invasion spread across the nation and again
able bodied men were taken from the ranks of the Tiffin Police
Department. It was left to the women of Tiffin to keep the peace and
they organized a home guard and their membership included training with
By the beginning of
the Roaring Twenties, new faces had been added to the Tiffin Police
Department and some other faces were no longer seen. Chief Heilman had
retired and Chief Bordner was his replacement. Many officers remained with
the force a short time. The average tenure was approximately three years.
This was due for the most part because of a salary lower than the rest of
the community and hours of twelve hours on duty and twelve hours off duty,
six days a week. The population had increased in Tiffin by nearly
20% and at this time 14,375 people were living inside the city limits.
1924, the City of Tiffin purchased their first technological leap for the
Tiffin Police Department. Call Boxes were purchased to aid the Patrolmen
on their beat, enabling them to better communicate with the Police
Station. The local taxi service is also enlisted to assist in transporting
officers to and from calls for service. Technology starts to be looked at
and the latter days of 1924 saw criminalistics used in Tiffin for the
first time to solve a robbery. Bloody fingerprints were found at the scene
of a robbery at Balls & Hooks. Subsequently, the detection and arrest of
one of the robbers came about because of the fingerprints.
In September 1929,
Chief Mutchler ordered a firming up of the Police Departments Rules &
Regulations and activities. He ordered his Patrolmen to crack down on all
types of violations. Also in 1929 Lawrence Dull and Kenneth Brown robbed a
filling station in town and killed the attendant during the robbery. A
massive investigation and manhunt was undertaken by the Tiffin Police
Department and this lead to their arrest and convictions. Lawrence Dull
was later taken to Columbus and was the first person from Tiffin to die by
John Dillinger and
his gang robbed a bank in Fostoria in 1933 and headed for Tiffin on Route
18. Tiffin Police officers set up a road block on
Route #18 and awaited the gang's arrival but they never showed up having
turned off onto some county road to avoid law enforcement.
Also in 1933 the
Ohio State Patrol completed its first training school at Camp Perry. Col.
Black led this first group on a parade through Tiffin.
construction on a new Municipal Building was started for the city and it
was decided that the Police Department would also be housed in it. In
March of 1940 the Police Department moved into it's new location. In
addition to new quarters the Police Department now had a talking radio on
the A.M. band and the call letters were WTOP. This system later was
upgraded to F.M. in 1943 with the call letters of KQB 396.
resigned in 1942 after 34 years of law enforcement service and Harold J.
Fraley was selected as the new Chief of Police. Chief Fraley began by
initiating new policies and procedures. Also in 1942 World War II rocks
the nation and again TPD members are asked to step up and serve. Tiffin
started a Civil Defense Unit that was located in the basement of the
Tiffin Police Department and Municipal Building and had nearly 300 members
that assisted the Police Department with air raid drills, blackout
practices and auxiliary services. During these war years new procedures
had to be implemented and on April 16th, 1946 Chief Fraley started a written
complaint report system that was in effect for nearly 5 decades.
In the early 1950's
Chief Fraley started the Tiffin Police Department's own police school. All
Patrolmen were required to complete sixteen weeks of intensive training. This was a major
accomplishment and Tiffin was the first department of it's size in the
State of Ohio to operate it's own school.
By the mid 1950's
war was again on the minds of Americans. Crime rates soared rapidly.
Tiffin Patrolmen still worked 44 hours a week and received special
training in fingerprinting, criminal investigating, disaster service, and
the use of the drunkometer as alcohol abuse was on the rise. Also during
this time the younger generation began to rebel against authority. Since
Law Enforcement represented authority, many cases at this time was
directly related to this rebellion.
In 1957 the rank of
Sergeant was added to the Tiffin Police Department and the first three
Patrolmen that were selected were: Englehart, Griffis, and Fisher. During
this same year the 44 hour a week workload was lowered to the now standard
40 hours a week. By 1958 the department had grown to 26 men, 3 cruisers,
and 2 motorcycles. The composition of the department was 1 Chief, 2
Captains, 3 Sergeants and 20 Patrolmen.
June 1969 brought
about the creation of the Criminal Division by Chief Fraley who had a keen
insight to what was on the horizon and the need for a separate investigative unit. Not
long after in 1971 a grant was approved for the establishment of another
special division. The Youth Services Division came into being at no extra
cost to the local taxpayers. This year also was also another
reorganization year and the rank of Lieutenant was created.
In the fall of
1972, Sergeant R.F. Wilson was appointed to the duties of photography and
identification. A federal Grant was obtained and a laboratory was built
with the latest equipment. Over 10,000 pictures were taken in the first
By 1973 the Police
Department's building was almost 40 years old and concern about the
physical structure caused a major renovation to take place. By 1974 major construction had started
and Patrolmen had to work around the debris. The 1939 appearance of the
building was gradually fading away and work was completed in 1974.
1976 the Police Department building had just went under a major
renovation and so did the police department leadership. After 34 years
as Chief of Police, Chief Harold J. Fraley retired and was replaced by
Chief David Martien. The building was now more functional and better met
and demands of the increasing size of the department. At this time the
composition was 35 officers and 8 civilian employees. 1 Chief, 2
Captains, 3 Lieutenants, 3 Sergeants and 26 Patrolmen. Chief Martien
also introduced the new Tiffin Police Department Patch.
In 1987 Chief Martien retired and moved on to
become the Mayor of Tiffin and Chief Wayne A. Stephens replaced him and
instituted D.A.R.E. and better equipment and technology. The first
Special Response Team was developed and established in 1991 as well as
the first K-9 unit consisting of Sgt. Mike A. Marquis and K9 Cora. Chief
Stephens retired in 1996 and moved onto the City Administration position
continuing to serve the City of Tiffin.
1999 under the direction of Chief Tom Steyer The department underwent a
remodel again and this remodel removed the old jail cell area in the
back of the department making room for offices, interview rooms and two
holding cells all in one area. The front hallway now became a lobby and
records office where the Chief and Captain's offices used to be.
2000 Chief Steyer retired and ran for Sheriff of Seneca County and won.
A nationwide search went out and in 2001 Chief David A. LaGrange was
hired. One of the projects that was started under Chief Steyer was
getting Accreditated through CALEA and after many years of stop and go
work on it, it was finally accomplished in 2004.
2012 Chief LaGrange resigned and another nationwide search was
undertaken and after several months in August of 2012 Chief Fredrick W.
Stevens was selected. He was serving as the Interim Chief of Police
since January when Chief LaGrange had resigned. A new Evidence room and
Training room have been built with all the latest technologies. A new
Comroom with an IP based radio system is in place to replace the 30+
year old radio equipment that had lived its lifespan and then some.
Offices were consolidated and remodeled and painted. A small museum of
historical items were placed into donated display cases down in the
basement lobby and display some of the past technologies that TPD has
used. Pictures of previous officers and vehicles and other photos were
framed and placed around the department. The Police Firing range
received a much needed remodel and the electric and exhaust fans were
fixed and put back into working order.
April 2nd of 2013 the Police Department along with the other law
enforcement agencies in Seneca County went Multi-Jurisdictional in the
Computer Aided Dispatch and Record Management Systems. This had been a
decade or more long project by TPD in combining all agencies on the same
software to share information. Tiffin Police had been using a system
called Pro-Phoenix for the last 7 years and now all of Seneca County
(except for Fostoria) are using this software that allows all agencies
to share information, records, mapping, mobile communications, etc. with
each other. Fostoria is in the works of also joining the system and
hopefully by 2015 will be part of the Multi-Juris system.
of Tiffin has tried to keep pace with the times and the citizens of Tiffin
are now protected by state of the art technologies. New Police Cruisers,
computers, better trained and qualified personnel, a K-9 unit, bicycle
patrol, as well as a team of tactical police and
negotiators who are trained and equipped to handle most any given
In the past one
hundred and sixty three years the Tiffin Police Department has come from virtual
non-existence to the status of being one of the best equipped and
efficient organizations ready to meet the challenging needs of policing.
Today the Chief of
Police is assisted by 3 Lieutenants, 5 Sergeants, 18 Officers,
Civilian Clerks, Civilian Dispatchers, and a Police Reserve. The equipment
consists of patrol cars, detective cars, a
K9 car, Police Bike's, Mobile Data in-car computers, Computer Aided Dispatch, E-911, in
car State LEADS checks, video surveillance and other new technologies.
These are all employed to protect the citizens of Tiffin. The police
department is also in the process of hiring officers and stand currently
at 27 officers total and have an authorized strength of 31. By the end of
2014 we should be back to 29 officers and at the start of 2015 with the
hiring of 2 additional officers that would put the PD at 31 sworn officers
and that would be the first time in over a decade that it would be back to
We hope you have
enjoyed this brief history of the Tiffin Police Department and we
encourage you to find out more about not only the Tiffin Police
Department's history but the City of Tiffin's history also at the Tiffin
Seneca County Library.
1851 TPD was founded and the leadership since
***CHIEF OF POLICE***
1851 S.H. Kissinger
1908 **Claude Myers
1852 A. Nichols
1917 Albert E. Heilman
1853 J.C. Mitchell
1920 Clyde M. Bordner
1855 F. Harris
1857 H. Britton
1942 Harold J. Fraley
1859 J. Zimmer
1987 Wayne A. Stephens
1862 H. Britton
1996 Thomas G. Steyer
2001 David A. LaGrange
1871 R. Nichols
2012 Fredrick W. Stevens
1875 J. George
1883 W.H. Kissinger
1885 John Hummer
1890 Jeremiah Kerschner
1892 Fred Frick
1895 *August Schultz
1895 Fred Frick
1900 Frank J. Dildine
1902 Jacob A.
1903 James Phillips
*Marshal Schultz was Killed in the Line of Duty
**Changed from title of Marshal to Chief of Police in 1908 and