History of the Chatham Police Department
In 1881, Police Magistrate, S.S. Sabine, was the first documented law enforcement official with the Village of Chatham. Since then, the Chatham Police Department has made many advances.
The Chatham Police Department has gone from a Town Constable directed department, to an Assistance Chief led department, and later moved into a Chief of Police led department. Many years ago, all of the Village of Chatham Trustees were commissioned officers and given the authority to carry a sidearm.
As time went on, the Chatham Police Department grew and improved with the rapidly growing Village. In the 1970’s, the Chatham Police Department was re-evaluated. The population was around 5,000 and the Village only employed 4 police officers, 1 full-time. Officers were still dispatched by the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Dispatch and were communicated with via in-car mobile phones. The citizens of Chatham dialed a 7 digit number and the officer on duty would typically answer the phone. If they were away from the patrol car, the horn would honk until the officer answered.
Moving forward, the Chatham Police Department expanded and hired a series of Police Chiefs in the 1980’s. As the population increased, the police department expanded. In 1988, Chief Roy Barnett and Sergeant James Dodson implemented the first dispatch center within the Chatham Police Department. Dispatchers communicate via two-way radio communications, answer calls for service, and logged officers’ activity. Approximately 3 years later, Chatham Police Dispatch became manned 24 hours per day. Chief Barnett increased the man power to fit the needs of the community.
The present Chatham Police Department structure consists of a Chief, Deputy Chief, 3 Sergeants, 11 Patrolmen, 1 Canine Unit, 1 Investigator, and 6 Dispatchers. Our dispatch center is online with Sangamon County Dispatch using Computer Aided Dispatching.
The Village of Chatham’s population is currently around 13,000. Our police department services 6 square miles of the Village as well as the outlying annexed areas. We provide security at our high school 8 hours a day as well as routine patrols in the additional 5 schools within our patrol area.
The Chatham Police Department is very involved in the community. We facilitate food drives, bicycle rodeos, and blood drives. We assist in government class education, driver’s education, attend child fun fairs, and are involved in Special Olympics activities.
Timeline of Chatham Police Chiefs
Bill “Tinville” Jordon – Justice of the Peace
Bill Gaule Sr – Village Marshall
Dave Duke – Assistant Chief
Jim Page – Chief
Jim Dodson – Chief
John Applegate – Chief
Mark Gleason – Chief
John McConnell – Chief
Bill Mayberry – Chief
Roy Barnett – Chief
Jim Dodson – Chief
John Holm – Chief
Vernon Foli – Chief (Current)