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Napa Police Department (California)

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Todd L. Shulman

About the Napa Police Department

When Napa was incorporated in 1872, there were only ten miles of city streets within its boundaries.  These ten miles (since swollen to 165 miles) became the birthplace of the Napa Police Department. The city’s first law enforcement officer was Ebenezer Biggs, the Town Marshal.  The Marshal's duties were both criminal and civil in nature; in addition to arresting law breakers he was also called on to supervise street repairs, collect taxes, assess taxes, impound stray animals, issue dog tags, serve civil papers, and so forth.


The original Napa Police Department was founded in 1875.  It consisted of the city's first Chief of Police, Jerome B. Walden; Marshal Thomas Earl; patrolmen E.S. Gridley, William Border, Charles M. Laughlin, and night watchmen Martin Guhn and George Hart. Today, the Napa Police Department is organized within six (6) bureaus: Administration, Patrol, Crime Prevention/Youth Services, Investigations, and Central Dispatch.  Each bureau has a Police Commander in charge of its overall operation.

The Patrol Division of the Napa Police Department is responsible for the deployment of uniformed Police Officers in the city in order to prevent crimes from occurring, investigate crimes which have occurred, respond to calls for service, prevent vehicle collisions, generate reports on crimes, collisions, and other activities, and provide information, referrals, and assistance to our residents and visitors.  The Patrol Bureau operates 24 hours per day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.


The Patrol Division of the Napa Police Department also provides the following services and programs: Special event staffing and management, homeless outreach, police canines, bicycle patrol, unlicensed driver program, Alternative Service Delivery System, and the Child Safety Seat Awareness Program.  The Administrative Sergeant assigned to this unit is also responsible for the management of the Police Training Officer (PTO) Program for new hires.


The Police Special Operations Bureau of the Napa Police Department consists of the Detective Unit, the Identification Unit, School Resource Officer Unit, Gang Violence Suppression Unit, Diversion Program, Traffic Unit, Parking Enforcement, Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Unit, and the Property and Evidence Unit.


The primary mission of the bureau is to provide staff, which possesses specialized training and skills, to deal with issues above those core services provided by the Patrol Bureau.  The cases assigned to the units of this Bureau are typically complicated, sensitive and/or require specialized training or skill.


This Bureau has been created to address citywide and department reorganization, as well as service efficiencies. It replaces the Youth Services/Crime Prevention Bureau and absorbs the Traffic Unit, Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Unit, Gang Suppression Unit, and Parking Enforcement from the Patrol Bureau.


The Police Administration Bureau of the Napa Police Department is responsible for the direction, supervision, and compliance with standards for the entire department.  It does so through policy development and implementation, by hiring, promoting, and assigning personnel, and by administering discipline and rewards.


It also maintains all administrative records and general orders, coordinates workers’ compensation claims, maintains and supports scheduling software and department website, manages the departmental fleet, maintains payroll records, coordinates employee recruitment and training, inputs payroll information into the City automated system, coordinates department budget, purchasing and accounts receivable, and issues alarm permits.




Selected book(s) from a Napa Police Department police officer.

Napa County Police
Todd L./ Napa Police Historical Society Shulman  More Info

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