About the Bridgeport Police Department
The first inception of a Police Department for the City of Bridgeport was through
a bill enacted on January 7, 1837. The “Night Watch” Bill, as it was referred to, was the first recorded action
in an effort toward the protection of life and property in Bridgeport. Soon thereafter,
on October 17, 1837, the Court of Common Council appointed 25 special constables to “preserve the peace”. The
constables would make the rounds or “patrol the streets”, as had their predecessors, hence the acronym cops (constables on patrol). They had the authority to make arrests, but received no salaries
with the exception of expenditure reimbursements that were levied by the court.
On May 6, 1848, the first “police station” or watch house was established
in the cellar of a building located on the north corner of Bank and Water Streets. Later, the constables worked out of the
basement of the city hall building. By 1861, the city charter allowed for fifty constables, although in actuality they only
had 38 constables. Thomas P. White was installed as the first Chief of special constables in the City of Bridgeport (which
now had a population of approximately 40,000) on December 12, 1865. A few months later, William E. Marsh was appointed the
first Chief of both police and constables on April 12, 1866. In 1872, Wakeman
W. Wells, a 1st sergeant of the Republican Army post in Stratford (1847), was appointed as the first Chief of police and special
constables of East Bridgeport with a complement of 41 men.