Police Department

Police Department

Derby Police Headquarters

125 Water Street

The Police Department now has their own web site. Please change your bookmarks to http://derbypd.org.

In addition to contact the police using the 911 emergency number, you may also reach the Department by calling:

Some Early History

This brief history of the Derby Police Department is recorded in Tercentenary Portrait & History of the Lower Naugatuck Valley compiled by Leo T. Molloy and published by the Press of Emerson Brothers, Inc. in Ansonia in 1935.

Since the City of Derby came into corporate existence by legislative mandate January 1, 1894, there has been a steady increase in the duties, membership and efficiency of the police department.

Today the functions of the police are many and varied. Motor traffic regulation, unknown in the old days, now constitutes a vital part of the duties of the police department. So with changing conditions and times, the police department has changed.

The first Chief of Police under the city form of government was John W. Nolan, who had been head of the department under the former town and borough government since 1880. In those days there were no laws safeguarding the tenure ship of the office with the result that its personnel changed with political control of the city.

Chief Nolan served until 1895 when he was succeeded by Charles H. Arnold, who was chief for two years, only to be succeeded by former Chief Nolan. Chief Nolan then served continuously until 1901 when he was again succeeded by Charles H. Arnold. The latter was the first to enjoy the law which permitted the police chief to remain in office during good behavior. He resigned, however, in 1907 and was succeeded by the late Daniel T. O'Dell.

Appointed August 1. 1907, Chief O'Dell served until his death July 6, 1926. Under him the department experienced many changes, more patrolmen were appointed, a fingerprint system of identification introduced, also a card index system of police records and the department was elevated to a high degree of efficiency according to modern police methods.

In 1912 the department consisted of Chief O'Dell, Lieut. Joseph E. Daly, Joseph V. Casey, Anthony Urbano, Thomas F. Conaty, James O'Donnell, John P. Ryan and Thomas VanEtten. Upon the death of Chief O'Dell in 1926, a vacancy remained in the chieftainship until June 17, 1927, when Thomas VanEtten was appointed. Chief VanEtten's date of entry in the department was November 26, 1910. He was named a patrolman February 12, 1915.

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