1855 to 1889


Circa 1855-
     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 Common Council appropriated twenty-five dollars from the City Treasury to Z.C. Crowell to pay for Buttons and Badges for the Police. The Council also instructed that the Police Commissioners procure pistols to arm the Police.


        In 1874, police coverage was extended to the Greenville area, as that section had been annexed to the city. In 1882, a sub-station was built on a lot next to the Greenville firehouse. At one time, there was also a sub-station in the firehouse at the Yantic Falls.


        In 1889, the position of Chief of Police became both active and paid member of the Department. The first paid Police Chief was John A. Bowen.
        For the first 24 years, members of the department were elected annually by the Court of Common council, until and act of the General Assembly in 1889 amended the City Charter. This provided for permanent employees, which eliminated the politics of the annual appointments.
        A "Police Manual" was published for members of the force. It contained the "City Charter Amendment, Ordinance, and Rules" organizing and regulating the Police Department. It also contained instructions and information for the policemen. It defined their duties in order to "secure uniformity of discipline and practice."
        During this period, the Chief, Captain, Sergeants, and Patrolmen, wore a navy blue, double-breasted flock coat with police buttons, and navy blue pants.  The Chief and Captain wore blue cloths caps, and the Sergeants and Patrolmen wore helmets.  All wore a "silver badge" upon the left breast. The equipment included police belts, clubs, and pistols furnished by the City.

Officer Blinderman - Circa 1890


1900 to 1950

Compiled by
Chief Louis J. Fusaro, Sr.