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Stephen M. Hennessy

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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


 The 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 Buttes.


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 month.


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 were added.


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.




Stephen M. Hennessy is a thirty five year law enforcement veteran serving in progressively responsible management and leadership positions with the FBI, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, and the Phoenix Police Department (Arizona). During his career he coordinated complex criminal investigations for many years as well as was responsible for a forensic laboratory, a statewide computer history and information system, and other administrative areas of law enforcement organizations such as finance, budget, research, and legislative matters. He holds a master's degree in curriculum and instruction and a doctorate in educational leadership.


Stephen M. Hennessy is the author of Thinking Cop, Feeling Cop: A Study in Police Personalities.  According to the book description, “a groundbreaking resource for police executives, officers on the street, media representatives, trainers and others involved in the fields of civil and criminal justice. This book explores the roles of personality types and how they affect the daily lives of law enforcement officials. Stephen M. Hennessy breaks down the communication patterns and management styles necessary to be a successful police officer and discusses the strengths and weakness of each style. This insightful book opens doors to understanding the role of women in law enforcement and highlights ways to deal with conflicts police officers may have with other professions.”

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