Police Department

Police Department, 1884.

Fargo's first law enforcement officer was John E. Haggart. He was elected town Marshall in Fargo's first city election in April 1875. The police force grew to a sergeant and eight patrolmen by 1881 and the town Marshall became the Chief of Police. In the 1884 picture to the right, the police force looks almost out of the Old West with their "Buffalo Bill" hats. The picture was taken on the board sidewalk outside of the police station of the time.

Police Department, 1898.

In 1896, the department added a detective and a park policeman. In the same year, all policemen were issued "Crimson Rims" bicycles. The entire 12 man force posed with their bicycles in the 1898 picture to the right. Chief of Police Fred Bowers is at the left. Fargo's first detective, Martin Flanigan (wearing the strange hat) is second from the right.

Samuel M. Gowland.

By the late 1890's, Fargo advertised that "There are fewer 'holdups,' burglaries and other crimes in Fargo than in any other city of its size in the United States, or in the known world. Women are never insulted by drunken loafers, or children in danger from vagabonds." Truly an idyllic city! Samuel Gowland was Chief of Police as the 19th century ended.

In the photographs above are two Fargo police officers in the 1890s. Note that neither is armed but both have very fancy night sticks with tassels. I don't know the names of these gentlemen but they both had their picture taken at Essery Photo at the corner of Broadway and First Avenue.

I am not sure of the year in which the photograph to the right was taken. Probably around 1900 or earlier.

The sign over the door to the left says "Chief Police." Perhaps the man standing by the door is the Chief.

The back of the photograph identifies the man seated at the desk as C. B. Wade.

The first Police Woman in Fargo was Erma Irwin, hired in 1913. As Fargo enters the 21st century, the city has 104 sworn police officers and supervisors.