CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT HISTORICAL TIMELINE
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Here you will find a timeline featuring some of the key events, innovations, and leaders which had a major impact on the Chicago Police Department's evolution. Please note that some names and events may not be listed; however, we are confident that important pieces of the Department's history have been included, and that the subjects and individuals listed are of significant importance.


PAGE INDEX

|  1880's   |  1890's   |  1900's   |  1910's   |  1920's   |  1930's   |  1940's   |  1950's   |  1960's   |  1970's   |  1980's   |  1990's  |

|  2000's   |  2010's  |





2010's
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2010 - On April 16th, 2010 Chicago Cop.com, a companion to the Police Officer's Field Guide, is completely redesigned and launched.

2010 - On March 2nd, 2010 Constable James Quinn, after 155 years, is finally recognized as the first Chicago Police Officer killed in the line of duty. His star is retired and enshrined in the Honored Star Case located in the lobby of Police Headquarters along with 10 other Officers.

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2000's
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2000 - On June 3rd, 2000 the new Chicago Police Department Headquarters is opened replacing an extremely aged and outdated building located at 1121 S. State Street.

2008 - In July of 2008 Chicago Cop.com is launched as a companion to the Police Officer's Field Guide.

Chicago Cop.com was originally developed as a companion website to The Police Officer's Field Guide. Use of the site is free of charge and its purpose is to assist Chicago Police Department members perform the functions of their respective duties with ease. The site allows them to quickly find and utilize resources used throughout their tour. The Police Officer's Field Guide Companion Site portion of ChicagoCop.com functions as a data warehouse allowing the department member to access resources from one location, instead of accessing resources from other hard to find areas within the department's intranet.

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1990's
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1992 - In April 1992, The Chicago Police Department's first Hispanic Superintendent, Matt L. Rodriguez, is appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley.

1993 - The Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) is introduced. Superintendent Matt L. Rodriguez introduces Chicago's community policing program (CAPS) in five districts. The program is implemented in all police districts in 1994 and serves as a model for several community policing programs throughout the nation today.

1995 - On September 25th, 1995 the Emergency Management and Communications Center opens. The new facility, known as the 9-1-1 Center, is located at 1400 W. Madison Street. The facility combines the 9-1-1 call-taking operation with emergency communication for police, fire and paramedics.

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1980's
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1983 - In August 1983 the Chicago Police Department's first African American Superintendent, Fred Rice, is appointed by Chicago's first African American Mayor Harold Washington.

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1970's
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1974 - Female Officers were assigned to patrol duties. When they were first assigned to patrol duties, female Chicago Police Officers began wearing the same uniform as their male counterparts. Previously, female officers wore skirts and worked only specialized assignments.

1976 - The first two women Patrol Specialists are appointed. Patrolman Rosann Rommelfaenger assigned to the 12th district and Patrolman Kathy Kajari assigned to the 16th district.

1976 - On October 12th, 1976 the Timothy J. O'Connor Training Academy opens. The new Chicago Police Training Academy replaced the old one, located in the heart of the Maxwell Street market area at 720 West O'Brien Street.

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1960's
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1960 - The rank of "Commissioner" was abolished and became known as "Superintendent."

1960 - The Chicago Police Department's first Civilian Superintendent, Orlando W. Wilson, is appointed by Mayor Richard J. Daley. O.W. Wilson, former dean of criminology at the University of California, is appointed Superintendent and greatly modernizes the Department. Wilson's many changes include a new and innovative communications center, the reduction of police stations, a fairer promotion process, and an emphasis on motorized patrol over foot patrol. The Department's look is also greatly changed, with blue-and-white squad cars replacing the old black-and-white ones, red mars lights instead of blue, and the introduction of a checkered hatband, brass nametags, and short-sleeve summer uniform shirts. Wilson also introduces the Department's official motto, "We Serve and Protect."

1963 - On July 1st, 1963 the Chicago Police Cadet Program was introduced.

1968 - From August 26th through August 29, 1968 the Democratic National Convention was held at the International Amphitheater which was located at 42nd and Halsted and has since been demolished. Several protesters arrive in Chicago with the express purpose of creating disturbances and disruption. Officers respond and clashes occur, leading to 668 arrests and negative media coverage for Chicago and the Department. There were 192 officers injured, of whom 49 required hospitalization. Fortunately, no one was killed.

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1950's
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1958 - On December 31st, 1958 the Chicago Park District Police Department is disbanded and absorbed into the Chicago Police Department.

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1940's
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1940 - The last year Police "1313", a pre-curser to the now defunct Chicago Police Star Magazine, was published.

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1930's
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1932 - The Saint Jude Police League is established as an active sponsor of charities and to support Chicago officers. During the 1950s, the League initiated one of the Chicago Police Department's finest traditions: the annual march held on the first Sunday of May to honor the memory of every honorable police officer who ever served, and particularly those who died in the performance of duty.

1934 - On May 1st, 1934 the Chicago Park District Police Department is organized.

The Chicago Park District was a separate municipal entity whose territorial limits were co-terminus with those of the city of Chicago. The Chicago Park District Police Department's jurisdiction covered 135 parks, including 12 bathing beaches, 42 outdoor swimming pools, numerous playfields and similar outdoor facilities, 85 field houses constituting year-round recreational centers, 2 floral conservatories, a zoo, and a variety of other attractions. The Park District Police had jurisdiction over 205 miles of Chicago's Boulevards and over 28 miles of Lake Michigan's shore line.

The Park District employed its own maintenance and operating staff, including a force of 639 police officers recruited by its own Civil Service Board and responsible for the enforcement of Park ordinances and State lawsand for the preservation of peace and good order. The Division of Police operated nearly 100 two-man squadcars, each equipped with two-way radios, with central headquarters located in the Administration Building in Burnham Park. Because of the independent jurisdiction of the Park Commissioners, the Chicago Park District Police Department functioned separately from the Chicago Police Department, although the closest cooperation exists between the two.

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1920's
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1920 - On August 22nd, 1920 the Chicago Police Reserves were disbanded because of the failure of the City Council to provide for their organization.

1921 - For the third time the ranks of "Desk Sergeant", "Patrol Sergeant", and "Detective Sergeant" were abolished and renamed plainly "Sergeant", under a new ordinance that was passed. The aforementioned ranks were reinstated several times, but were abolished in 1909, 1917, and 1921.

1927 - The rank of "General Superintendent" was abolished and became known as "Commissioner."

1929 - On February 14, 1929 seven men were murdered in a Chicago north side garage. The investigation of the "Saint Valentine's Day Massacre" results in the creation of the nation's first crime laboratory, located at Northwestern University. The Chicago Police Department purchased the crime lab in 1938.

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1910's
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1910 - The Ambulance Service was transferred back to the police department except for contagious disease cases.

1910 - The Department expands its motorized service by introducing its first Police Motorcycles and Police Boats.

1913 - On August 13, 1913 the Department appoints its first female officers as 10 women take the oath of office as Chicago police officers. Of this group, Alice Clement emerges as one of the most famous law enforcers in the nation.

1921 - For the second time the ranks of "Desk Sergeant", "Patrol Sergeant", and "Detective Sergeant" were abolished and renamed plainly "Sergeant", under a new ordinance that was passed. The aforementioned ranks were reinstated several times, but were abolished in 1909, 1917, and 1921.

1917 - On August 8th, 1917 the Chicago Police Reserves were organized.

The Chicago Police Reserves were organized on a regimental basis, with eighteen companies divided into three battalions. Its membership ranged from 1,600 to almost 1,800 officers and men. The Reserve men attended weekly drill, where instruction was given in physical exercises, military drill, and police duties.

The Reserve was used instead of regular officers or to supplement them, as might be needed for Thrift parades, the Liberty Loan parades, and Memorial Day parades. They helped clear streets and fire hydrants of snow. During the influenza and pneumonia epidemic, the reserve worked nightly for two weeks in helping the regular police enforce health regulations.

On Armistice Day, they helped preserve order among the jubilant throngs who streamed into the loop. The Reserves were on duty to greet returning troops, and for the reception of General John Pershing upon his visit to Chicago.

1918 - Grace Wilson, the first African American woman was appointed and joined the force. She is also quite possibly the first black female officer in United States history.

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1900's
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1906 - The Departments Mounted Unit is created to provide crowd control, the unit was disbanded in 1948, but reestablished by popular demand in 1974.

1907 - The Ambulance Service was transferred to the control of the Chicago Health Department.

1908 - The automobile is introduced and the Department becomes motorized with the introduction of three squad cars.

1909 - Under the command of General Superintendent LeRoy T. Steward, the ranks of "Desk Sergeant", "Patrol Sergeant", and "Detective Sergeant" were abolished and renamed plainly "Sergeant", under a new ordinance that was passed. The aforementioned ranks were reinstated several times, but were abolished in 1909, 1917, and 1921.

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1890's
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1890 - The "Ambulance Service" began with a donation from Mrs. Ada Sweet, she provided funds for an ambulance that was stationed at the 1st Precinct located on Harrison Street. A CPD ambulance was simply a horse drawn patrol wagon equipped with a stretcher and bandages. The Officers assigned were trained by a Doctor in basic medical techniques.

1896 - The rank of "Detective Sergeant" was created.

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1880's
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1880 - The first Police Matrons were hired. Police Matrons were female employees, but were not considered Police Officers.

1880 - The Chicago Police Patrol and Signal System is introduced. By installing booths equipped with telegraph units from which officers and prominent citizens could contact the closest police station, Chicago implements the first modern law enforcement communication system.

1881 - The first Patrol Wagon was put into service.

1882 - The Chicago Police Department establishes the Traffic Division with 65 officers stationed at street crossings, bridges, tunnels and railroad crossings throughout the City.

1886 - On May 4, 1886 the most devastating day in Chicago Police Department history begins when a group of anarchists hold a demonstration in Haymaker Square. When several officers arrive to disperse the crowd, a bomb is thrown and explodes in the midst of the police. Eight officers die and 59 are wounded as a result of the bombing and ensuing gun battle between the police and anarchists.

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1870's
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1871 - James L. Shelton, the first African American policeman was appointed and joined the force.

1871 - On October 8th, 1871 The Great Chicago Fire destroys three and one half square miles, including almost all police facilities.

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1860's
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1860 - The Department organizes is first Detective Force.

1861 - On March 21st, 1861 Mayor John Wentworth summoned the entire police force to his office and fired them, leaving the city without police protection from 2:00 am until 10:00am the next morning. It was at this time, within a few hours, the new police board rehired most of the officers discharged by the Mayor and hired a considerable amount of new men.

1861 - The rank of "City Marshall" was abolished and became known as "General Superintendent."

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1850's
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1958 - The Chicago Police Department institutes an official uniform for its members.

1853 - On December 5th, 1853 Constable of Police James Quinn became the first Officer killed in the line of duty.

1854 - On January 13th, 1854 Bridge Tenders were officially appointed as "Special Policemen."

1855 - The Chicago Police Department undergoes a major reorganization under the direction of Captain Cyrus P. Bradley, who combines the day and night watches; increases the force by six times the number of officers; divides the City into three police precincts; and introduces a more professional, efficient command staff.

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1840's
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1841 - The title of "Head Constable" was abolished and became known as "City Marshall."

1842 - In May 1842 the first City Marshall, Orson Smith, is elected.

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2010's
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1830 - The rank of "Constable" was created. This position was an elected position and at the Town of Chicago's first election no constable is mentioned in connection with the election; but one was surely appointed or otherwise provided for is certain, for even under village organization there were constables, Source: p.51 - History of the Chicago Police, Flinn.

1835 - On January 31st, 1835 The State of Illinois authorized the Town of Chicago to establish its own police force.

1835 - On August 15th, 1835 The Chicago Police Department is born. Orsemus Morrison is elected Chicago's first constable, assisted by Constables Luther Nichols and John Shrigley. The three-man police force serves and protects a population of about 3,200. The Police Department pre-dates Chicago as a city.

1835 - At the August 15th, 1835 town election Orsemus Morrison was elected the towns first "High Constable" and "Town Collector." Source: p.51 - History of the Chicago Police, Flinn.

1837 - On March 4th, 1837 Chicago was incorporated as a city.

1837 - The Municipal Court of Chicago was created. Source: Early History of the Police Department, Chicago Police Department.

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