The roots of the Syracuse Police Department date back to 1825.
Following the opening of the Erie Canal and the boom of the
thriving salt industry, Syracuse became a bustling metropolis and a
jumping-off point for pioneers, entrepreneurs, and adventurers. The
first constable, H.W. Durnford, soon faced the problem of roustabouts,
gamblers, and robbers preying upon the canal and warehouse workers
along lower James Street. While the community experimented
with village and night watches, special constables, and patrolmen,
no permanent solution was found. On January 1, 1846, the final
die was cast when Syracusans clashed with salt boilers from the
adjoining village of Salina in the bloody Coffeehouse Riot. Because
of insufficient police services, the militia had to put down the riot.
To improve services, both villages voted to consolidate, and in 1848,
the City of Syracuse and its police department were created. Syracuse
Police illustrates the evolution of urban policing and gives insight into
the department's core values and the police officers who have held