April 1885 - Present Day
The City of Spearfish was established in 1876. Gold fever had brought people to Spearfish and the City began to grow rapidly. By 1890 the population of Spearfish had grown to 671. The City is named after the creek that runs through it. The Indians that used to spear fish in the clear waters gave the creek its name.
In 1885 the City of Spearfish appointed its very first Chief of Police. On April 10th 1885, Charles Bond was appointed as City Marshal. Marshal Bond was appointed by Mayor Summers and was paid $54.00 monthly salary. Since then there have been 42 appointed City Marshals/Chiefs of Police. Along with the traditional police duties the Chief/Marshal jobs included being the Street Commissioner, Pound Masters and Fire Wardens. Chief/Marshal did this duty at a rate of $75.00 a month.
Several times in our history the City went without a Chief or a Marshal. Between 1890 - 1893 there was no Marshal or Chief for the City. It appeared that R F Crawford maintained the only law enforcement. Crawford was known as the Police Justice of the Police. During these years the City Council had petitions presented to them for the appointment of a Chief. It wasn't until February 1st 1893 that Mayor G.C. Favorite finally appointed our 7th Chief Benjamin F. Lazelle.
Other times during our history the City of Spearfish hired guards and did not have a Chief or Marshal. During the time of May 7th 1918 - Nov 4th 1918, the City hired 2 guards. They were hired from Company K and were referred to as The Spearfish House Guards. Their primary job was foot patrol in the areas of the business part of town, the railroad yards and the flourmill. They were also required to work nights from 8 PM until sunrise.
After Nov of 1918 the only law in Spearfish was the Pound Master E. B. Dotson. Dotson’s primary duties were like that of an animal control officer. From Nov until Aug 1920, the City did hire Night Watchmen. E. B. Dotson was at one time considered for the Night Watchman position, but he was never appointed.
In 1920 the City finally appointed Richard Lawrence as City Marshal. Since then the City of Spearfish has had a Chief of Police, along with appointed police officers, a Deputy Sheriff (Ed Charboneau Feb 10th 1927) and Special Police.
In the summer of 1995 the Spearfish Police Department along with other city offices moved into the newly built Municipal Services Centre. The building is located at 625 5th St. Prior to that the Police Department was at 722 Main St (Old City Hall).
Today the Spearfish Police Department is comprised of 20 full-time Police Officers, that include a University Police Officer and a School Resource Officer, 7 full-time 911 Telecommunicators, 1 Animal Control Officer and an Administrative Assistant.
Since 1885, the population of Spearfish has grown to approximately 10,000 citizens.
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