About the Norwich Police Department
Prior to 1855 the City of Norwich,
Connecticut authorized City Watches, off and on, for its protection. During the year 1855, a permanent "Night Watch" was organized
for the city. Its chief duties were to light and extinguish the gas streetlights and generally "watch" and "patrol" the city
through the night.
On July 21st, 1865, the Court of
Common Council of the City of Norwich adopted a new city ordinance establishing a "Police Force." It was designated the "Police
Department of the City of Norwich." This ordinance authorized and appointed Police Chief (who was unpaid), A Police Captain
(who actually ran the day-to-day operations), seven Patrolmen, and six Supernumerary Patrolmen. Three members of the Court
of Common Council were appointed as Police Commissioners. They in turn appointed all members of the department.
On September 11th, 1865, the first
members of the Norwich Police Department appeared on the streets of Norwich "in dark blue uniforms, with a badge on the cap,
and a star on the breast." Zodac C. Crowell acted as the first "Chief of Police" for the department.
The Norwich Police Department, which
ranks among the oldest in the nation, has come a long way since it’s inception, nearly a century and a half ago. At
present, the police department’s responsibilities are a far cry from what was expected when it was originally established.
The major responsibility for the department in the early 1800’s was simple; "watch over the City and keep the public
Its obligations are much more complex
as we continue in a new Century. The department now covers nearly thirty square miles that make up the City of Norwich, with
its two-hundred and twenty-three (223) miles of streets and state highways, and approximately 38,000 residents. The department
has continued to grow, expand and progress to meet the added demand for the ever expanding variety of police services. The original police force of some fifteen sworn officers had grown to ninety-one officers,
along with a complement of civilian support personnel.
Today, the chief executive of the
Norwich Police Department is the Chief of Police. He is assisted by a Deputy
Chief of Police. The Norwich Police Department is organized into three divisions:
Patrol; Records and Services; and, Investigations.