Authorization. On January 31, the State of Illinois authorized the Town of Chicago to establish its own police force.
Birth of Chicago Police Department. On August 15, Orsemus Morrison is elected Chicago's first constable, assisted by Constables Luther Nichols and John Shrigley. The three-man police force serves and protects a population of about 3,200. The Police Department pre-dates Chicago as a city.
Chicago Incorporated. On March 4, Chicago is incorporated as a city. Morrison, Nicholas and Shrigley continue to serve as the entire force.
The Chicago Police Force, during this period, consisted of a very small collection of officers, constables and part-time night watchmen to serve and protect a quickly-expanding city.
Casper Lauer is the first Chicago Police Officer killed in the line of duty.
Major Reorganization. The Chicago Police Department undergoes a major reorganization under the direction of Captain Cyrus P. Bradley, who combines the day and night watches; increases the force by six times the number of officers; divides the City into three police precincts; and introduces a more professional, efficient command staff.
Police Department Fired. When the Illinois State Legislature takes away Mayor John Wentworth's police authority, the impetuous mayor fires the entire police force. Chicago is without police protection for 12 hours until the Board of Police Commissioners swears back in the discharged officers.
Cyrus Bradley is appointed as Police Superintendent. He creates the first Detective Division and introduces a Department motto: "At danger's call, we'll promptly fly; and bravely do or bravely die."
First African-American Chicago Police Officer. The appointment of James L. Shelton is a milestone in Department history.
Chicago Fire. On October 8, our officers exhibit remarkable courage and dedication when the Great Chicago Fire destroys three and one half square miles, including almost all police facilities.
Chicago Police Patrol and Signal System. By installing booths equipped with telegraph units from which officers and prominent citizens could contact the closest police station, Chicago implements the first modern law enforcement communication system.
Traffic Division.The Department establishes the Traffic Division with 65 officers st6ationed at street crossings, bridges, tunnels and railroad crossings throughout the City.
The Historic Haymarket Conflict. On May 4, the most devastating day in Chicago Police Department history begins when a group of anarchists hold a demonstration in Haymaker Square. When several officers arrive to disperse the crowd, a bomb is thrown and explodes in the midst of the police. Eight officers die and 59 are wounded as a result of the bombing and ensuing gun battle between the police and anarchists.
First Female Officer. Marie Owen, a widow of a Chicago police officer, is the first woman to be employed by a police department. The Chicago City Council grants her the title and pay of Patrolman
First Mounted Unit. Created to provide crowd control, the unit was disbanded in 1948, but reestablished by popular demand in 1974.
First Police Automobiles. The Department becomes motorized with the introduction of three squad cars.
First Police Motorcycles and Police Boats. The Department expands its service by introducing two new police vehicles.
First African American Female Officer. Grace Wilson is also quite possibly the first black female officer in United States history.
Dangerous Era. More than 40 percent of all Chicago Police Officers killed in the line or performance of duty were killed during this era.
First Crime Laboratory. On February 14, seven men were murdered in a Chicago north side garage. The investigation of the "Saint Valentine's Day Massacre" results in the creation of the nation's first crime laboratory, located at Northwestern University. The Chicago Police Department purchased the crime lab in 1938.
Saint Jude Police League is established as an active sponsor of charities and to support Chicago officers. During the 1950s, the League initiated one of the Chicago Police Department's finest traditions: the annual march held on the first Sunday of May to honor the memory of every honorable police officer who ever served, and particularly those who died in the performance of duty.
Innovative Unit. The Department established the Human Relations Section, the first of its kind in the nation, which has since developed into today's Civil Rights Unit.
Chicago Park District Police merge with the Chicago Police Department.
O.W. Wilson, former dean of criminology at the University of California, is appointed Chicago Police Superintendent and greatly modernizes the Department. Wilson's many changes include a new and innovative communications center, the reduction of police stations, a fairer promotion process, and an emphasis on motorized patrol over foot patrol. The Department's look is also greatly changed, with blue-and-white squad cars replacing the old black-and-white ones, red mars lights instead of blue, and the introduction of a checkered hatband, brass nametags, and short-sleeve summer uniform shirts. Wilson also introduces the Department's official motto, "We Serve and Protect."
Democratic National Convention. Several protesters arrive in Chicago with the express purpose of creating disturbances and disruption. Officers respond and clashes occur, leading to 668 arrests and negative media coverage for Chicago and the Department. There were 192 officers injured, of whom 49 required hospitalization. Fortunately, no one was killed.
First Female Patrol Officers. When they were first assigned to patrol duties, female Chicago officers began wearing the same uniform as their male counterparts. Previously, female officers wore skirts and worked only specialized assignments.
Timothy J. O'Connor Training Academy. Opened on October 12, the new Chicago Police Training Academy replaced the old one, located in the heart of the Maxwell Street market area at 720 West O'Brien Street.
First African American Superintendent, Fred Rice
First Hispanic Superintendent, Matt L. Rodriguez
Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS). Superintendent Rodriguez introduces Chicago's community policing program (CAPS) in five districts. The program is implemented in all police districts in 1994 and serves as a model for several community policing programs throughout the nation today.
Emergency Management and Communications Center. The new facility, known as the 9-1-1 Center, is located on the 1400 block of West Madison Street. The facility combines the 9-1-1 call-taking operation with emergency communication for police, fire and paramedics.
To combat gangs, drugs and guns in Chicago, Superintendent Hillard introduces regular, weekly DOC and VICE meetings, under the direction of First Deputy Superintendent Philip J. Cline.
Office of Management Accountability (OMA) is created by Superintendent Terry G. Hillard.
Deployment Operations Center (DOC), Violence Initiative Strategy (VICE).
Superintendent Philip J. Cline appointed. Among Superintendent Cline's many accomplishments are the introduction of several programs resulting in a remarkable drop in the City's homicide rate, reinstatement of the Chicago Police Cadet Program as an effective recruitment tool, and the honoring of several previously-forgotten Chicago officers killed in the line of duty, by enshrinement of their stars in the Honored Star Case