About the St. Louis Police Department:
In 1808, just five years after Saint Louis became a part of the United States,
the city's first police force was organized. Although only comprised of four men, it served the early settlers well. There
was no salary paid to the officers. Even more unusual was the fact that every male over the age of eighteen was required to
serve four months as a police officer each year. Anyone who refused to obey his call to duty was subject to what was then
considered a stiff fine - "the sum of one dollar."
For 10 years this rotating four-man militia served the needs of the settlers,
but in 1818 it was necessary to enlarge the force to six men due to population growth. Two of the officers were then assigned
to the night watch, with one of them being a one-armed man named Gabes Warner, who was considered by many to be better qualified
for the job than most two-armed men. At the same time, Mackey Wherry was named captain and was paid $400.00 annually. Wherry
held two distinctions, as he became the first command rank officer of the force and the first officer to receive a salary.
As the city began to grow, it again became necessary to increase the size of
the force. Today, the Department is now comprised of over 1400 officers and recently opened up three new area stations and
a high-tech communications center. With a diverse and comprehensive policing strategy firmly in place, all of our activities
are aimed at just one goal: making the St. Louis Metropolitan area a better and safer place for the millions of people who
live, work, or visit here. Our policing strategy is about working with community to prevent crime; not just to catch the criminals
once a crime has occurred.
In addition, officers, many of whom have advanced degrees, patrol in customized
police vehicles and have at their disposal the latest equipment in police technology, including computers and miniature radios.
Hundreds of officers are involved in community programs designed to help distressed youth, provide safety education, and various
other community interactions to support and assist the community beyond law enforcement.