Title: New book sheds light on Cambridge Police Department history
Author: Jeremy White
Publisher: Wicked Local Cambridge
Cambridge police do more than just apply handcuffs and hand out parking tickets. They are also representatives of an institution that is bound up with Cambridge’s history.
As the Cambridge Police Department’s 150th anniversary approaches, a new book will allow readers to take a visual journey through a history replete with guns, badges and law-enforcing canines.
Entitled “Cambridge Police Department” and authored by Cambridge Police SuperintendentDavid J. Degou, the book assembles more than 200 photographs of Cambridge cops that span over a century.
The Cambridge Police Department first came into being in 1859, and since that time its ranks have swelled from 16 to nearly 300 employees. In the 230 years preceding the department’s creation, a town constable was tasked with keeping the peace.
The department’s growth has also paralleled larger social trends. In 1884, Frederick Arthur Robinson became the department’s first African-American officer, after which he served for 30 years and ascended to the rank of sergeant.
Innovations in law enforcement also serve as historical yardsticks: in 1880 the police chief purchased his 60 officers 10 guns at a cost of $10, in 1889 a system of telephone boxes for the first time enabled instantaneous communication between various stations, and 1969 saw the formation of a K-9 unit.
With Degou’s guidance, locations familiar to Cantabrigians emerge in a new perspective. For example, the book notes that what is today called the Longfellow Bridge witnessed the death of William Loughrey the first Cambridge officer to fall in the line of duty in June 1860.
The book is divided into six different categories of images, including “Specialized Units,” “Tools of the Trade” and “Notable Events.”
Degou said he decided to put together the book after discovering tomes dedicated to police departments from cities including Los Angeles and Cleveland and noticing a conspicuous lack of a similar volume for Cambridge.
“I thought it would be nice for Cambridge to get involved,” Degou said.
Degou said he drew on a variety of resources to realize his idea, including collecting photos from retired officers and perusing back issues of the Cambridge Chronicle to steep himself in the historical context.
Degou said the book should shed light an often-neglected part of Cambridge’s already rich history.
“A lot is known about the city of Cambridge, but not a lot is known about the police department other than what’s in the annual reports to the city,” he said. “It’s a little here, a little there, and you try to piece it all together.”
“Cambridge Police Department,” is available from Arcadia Publishing for $21.99. Available at local retailers, online bookstores or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com.