History of the Houston Police Department

History Of The Houston Police Department

Law Enforcement Agency
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History of the Houston Police Department

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The History of the Houston Police Department started with the founding of the City of Houston, while the department's beginning was humble, it grew more advanced as technology became available and was able to handle the various challenges that would plague various cities as well as some of the more distinctive aspects of our geography.

Chronology

Early history

The first constable of the then recently incorporated City of Houston was elected in 1837, making him the city’s first law enforcement officer. The police force itself was not established until 1841 by Houston’s first marshal, Daniel Busley.

There was little patrolling of the city during the next 20 years. It was up to the individual businessmen to hire guards to protect their establishments. In 1866, Marshal Isaac C. Lord began to establish HPD as a proper police force by setting hiring rules, regulations, and requirements in hiring practices for recruits. The new policies were reviewed by the city council and were added to the City Charter (Art 308-344). Isaac C. Lord lobbied and succeeded in adopting the dress uniform which states, “The dress of the members of the police force shall be navy blue, indigo die and all wool.” (Art 333, 1866)It was also during this period on March 10, 1860, that C. Edward Foley became the first to fall in the line of duty while on patrol.

In 1873, during Reconstruction, R. Van Patton was appointed City Marshal. It was during his tenure that the...
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