Wednesday May 4th
About the Police Department
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The Great Falls Police Department has a rich heritage dating back to the late 1800's when officers were referred to as "law men" and horse power was just that. The Great Falls Police Department was created in 1888 with the incorporation of the City. At that time, George E. Huy was appointed the Police Magistrate and given oversight of the City Marshall/Chief of Police — Patrick Sweeney. The entire police force consisted of Sweeney and Policeman John Hurly.
In 1889, two policemen were appointed bringing the total police force to three men. Uniforms were non-existent, so officers wore everyday clothes and hung a six-shooter on their side. In the mid 1890's, uniforms were introduced and the city built its own jail. By the end of 1909, the force had grown to 14 certified members -- certification required passing an examination by the Examining and Trial Board and 6 months of probationary experience on the force.
By 1914, automobiles were being used and around 1940, they got their first two-way radios. In 1970, the police department started using computers.
From those humble beginnings, the GFPD has grown into a sworn force of 85 men and women and has 65 cars and support vehicles handling crimes and providing educational services. The police department has five distinct bureaus within the department, which include the Patrol Services Bureau, Investigative Services Bureau, Support Services Bureau, Communications Services Bureau and Administrative Services Bureau.
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