TIFFIN POLICE DEPARTMENT

History

 

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The 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.

In 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 the community.

In 1832 Harry 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.

Responsible and 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 progressive community.

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 were: 

  • Charles Brish
  • George Miller
  • Amos Nicholas
  • Isaac Robb
  • I.J.C. Shoemaker

Tiffin 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

Our 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

The 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 SMarshal Schultzhultz 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 anTPD Old Patchd 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 Patrolmen.

On 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 ToledoPatrolman Sweeney 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 was noted.

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.

The 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 a rifle.

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.

November 11th, 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 electrocution.

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.

In 1938 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.

Chief Mutchler 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 new 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 year.

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.

In 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 the neeNew TPD Patchds 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.

In 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.

In 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.

In 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.
 

On 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.


Today


The City 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 situation.

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 full strength.

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

***MARSHAL***                                ***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                                   1925 Charles Mutchler
1857 H. Britton                                  1942 Harold J. Fraley
1859 J. Zimmer                                 1976 David
Martien
1861 L.F. Beilharz                            1987 Wayne A. Stephens
1862 H. Britton                                  1996 Thomas G. Steyer

1864 C. Muetchler                           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
1897 Lloyd Lease
1900 Frank J. Dildine

1902 Jacob A. Seilheimer
1903  James Phillips
*Marshal Schultz was Killed in the Line of Duty
**Changed from title of Marshal to Chief of Police in 1908 and thereafte

 

 

 

 

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