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City of Glendale - The History of the Glendale Police Department

Glendale Police Museum

Goal: To preserve the past and document the present so we can have it for the future. 

Location: 6835 N 57th Drive, Glendale, AZ 85301
Museum Hours: Monday thru Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  

Curator: Dan Kallberg, Retired Glendale Police Officer
Office Phone: 623-930-3486

(Funding made possible by a grant from the Glendale Civic Pride Ambassadors
and donations by Glendale Wal-Mart store.)

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The new home for the Glendale Police Department Museum was dedicated on August 20, 2010. Located in the City of Glendale Public Safety Building lobby, the Museum is one of a very few of its kind in Arizona, and is proudly dedicated to the men and women in law enforcement.

The opening of the Museum was made possible by the generosity of the Glendale Civic Pride Ambassadors who recently awarded a grant to retired GPD Officer Dan Kallberg to fund the Glendale Police Department Museum in our lobby. This grant has transformed the lobby to reflect a professional, tasteful display of Glendale Police Department history.

With the assistance of the City of Glendale Arts Department, the exhibit space with over 100 years of Glendale Police Department memorabilia will be an exciting and lasting reflection of our law enforcement history. As the museum process continues to enhance the second floor, please take the time to visit the Glendale Public Safety Building lobby and enjoy the transformation.

Our many thanks to the Glendale Civic Pride Ambassadors for making this project possible.

Glendale Police Department Museum The Glendale Police Department Museum was recently profiled on "City Beat", the City of Glendale’s award-winning newscast hosted by Jon Brictson. City Beat is a fast-paced look at city news, information and what’s happening in Glendale. Watch segment online>>

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The History of the Glendale Police Department

Glendale was founded in 1892, primarily because of the fertile land of the Salt River Valley, which was ideal for agriculture. Glendale was a quiet, religious community based on strong family values; a great place to raise a family.  The community grew and prospered and in 1910, with a population of approximately 1,000 residents, Glendale was incorporated.

The Glendale area, which had been patrolled and cared for previously by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, now would have its own marshal. The City elected M.R. Wells, who opposed J.D. Rudd, a well-known lawman, to be the first marshal. Due to the City’s small size, merchants were deputized to assist Marshall Wells when necessary.

By 1915, Glendale had hired a night watchman to look after the City during the late evening hours. The watchman was even required to purchase his own flashlight! At this time, communication with the police department was via a telephone operator. After receiving a call from a citizen, the operator would ring a bell or flash a light atop the city water tower to alert the officer of a call for service.

As the City’s population grew, so, of course, did traffic congestion. The town council authorized the police department to purchase a Harley Davidson motorcycle. In fact, in 1929, James Q. Shaw, the police department’s ninth marshal, was hired partly because he knew how to ride a motorcycle.

During the 1930’s, the City’s major concerns were the increased traffic problems and bootleggers. Louie Gay, a deputy marshal for Glendale, not only rode a motorcycle, but also flew airplanes. As a matter of fact, Louie built an airplane behind his house using a motorcycle engine. He spent a good deal of his time flying around the City looking for bootleggers and illegal Chinese immigrants.

The decade of the 1940’s and World War II brought about changes not only to the City of Glendale but also to the entire State of Arizona. As the federal government constructed new defense plants and airfields, job opportunities flourished and the population skyrocketed. Although many men left home to serve their country, the police department saw very little turnover. After the war ended, Glendale made it a priority to hire veterans, including those who were handicapped. In 1948, the State highway patrol gave the police department a used radio system, the police department’s first ever system. The department now had two-way radios in the patrol cars and a dispatcher at the station! The department had only seven officers at this time so everyone took turns working in the radio room.

During the 1950’s, the population of Glendale nearly doubled, as did the number of officers at the police department, growing from nine to eighteen officers. In 1953 at the direction of Chief Stanley Van De Putte, the department’s auxiliary, or reserve program, commenced. After completing several weeks of training, the reserve officers assisted with traffic control, radio operations, vehicle safety checks, and other patrol functions.

During the 60’s, Glendale’s population continued its steady increase and the police force struggled to keep pace with its growth. The patrol areas grew in size, thus increasing the number of reports being filed. The police department was outgrowing its facility. In 1963, the decision was made to move the police department into a larger and more modern facility, combining the police department, city court, and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

At the direction of Chief V. Allen Adams, the police department’s training became more formalized with standardized training classes now being conducted for all new police recruits. Prior to this time, recruits read from books and rode with veteran officers until the officers believed the recruits were ready to be on their own. Training continued to be a priority for the department throughout the 60’s and 70’s. Currently, training for new police officers is a 16-week long curriculum held at the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy. After graduation from the academy, the new officers must train an additional sixteen weeks with field training officers.

In 1976, officers had portable radios, which were kept with them at all times. This increased officer safety and communication with the dispatcher at the station. A milestone for the Department occurred in 1976 with the hiring of its first female officer, Sheryl Roberts. Officer Roberts was assigned to the patrol division and then later moved to the investigation section.

The Glendale Police Department continued to grow with a sub-station in the northern part of the city in the late 1980s. Also in the 80’s and 90’s, the department added several new specialty Units, including the Tactical Operations Unit, the Narcotics Enforcement Unit, a Bomb Squad, and a Bike Patrol Unit just to name a few.

Today, the Glendale Police Department has over 600 employees, serving almost 250,000 citizens. The police department is proud of its diversity and continues its dedication in serving the citizens of Glendale.


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