About the Phoenix Police Department
Phoenix was incorporated as a city
on February 25, 1881. Law enforcement was handled by Phoenix city marshals and later by Phoenix police officers. Henry Garfias,
the first city marshal, was elected by residents in 1881 in the first elections of the newly incorporated city. For six years,
he served as the primary law enforcement officer.
In the early 1900's, the Phoenix
Police Department used Old Nelly, the horse, to pull the patrol wagon for officers. Most patrolling, however, was done on
foot. The city at this time was only 3.1 square miles with a population of 11,134 people.
Call boxes were used to notify an
officer that headquarters wanted him. These were supplemented by a system of horns and flashing lights
first Phoenix police officer killed in the line of duty in Phoenix occurred on February 5, 1925. Officer Haze Burch was shot
and killed by two brothers on the run from authorities. The men were later arrested when they were found hiding at the Tempe
In 1929, patrolmen worked six days
a week and were paid $100 a month. The police department moved into the west section of the new city-county building at 17
South 2nd Avenue. The building included jail cells on the top two floors.
In 1933, Ruth Meicher joined the
police department as the first female jail matron. The city at this time was only 6.4 square miles, with a population of 48,200.
In the year prior, the first police radio system in Arizona was installed for the department with the call letters KGZJ.
The department reorganized in 1950
with four divisions, Traffic, Detectives, Patrol and the Service Divisions. Officers worked 44 hours per week for $288 per
In 1974, the Air patrol unit was
established initially consisting of one helicopter. A few months later, a fixed wing aircraft and two additional helicopters
Today, the Phoenix Police Department provides
law enforcement to 1.2 million Phoenix residents encompassing an area of more than 469 square miles. To accomplish this, the
department employs approximately 2,600 police officers and detectives and more than 700 civilian support staff personnel.