A look behind the Greenfield Police Department

Marlena Linn recently pointed us to some interesting information about Greenfield’s streets and roads. In 1867, the first ordinance was passed by Greenfield council to grade, gravel and add sidewalks to the streets, beginning at State and Main Streets.

Pennsylvania Street was the first street to be improved with sidewalks. In 1876, a serious system of street improvements began with paving the streets. In 1897, Howard and Whiskey Alley were first paved with bricks. At first, sidewalks also were brick.

Today, the only street in Greenfield paved with bricks is Depot Street. Also, by the Wedding Chapel on North Street, the alley is paved. Do you know of others?

Charlie Glidewell has just finished a new booklet entitled, “Behind the Badge,” which is the history of the Greenfield Police Department. Greenfield was incorporated in 1850, and the town was incorporated as a city in 1876. Prior to the 1920s and possibly into the 1920s, it is believed law enforcement was a town marshal system.

The town marshal was appointed or elected. The first marshal elected was Nathan Crawford, but he refused to serve. N.P. Howard was appointed in his place and served until 1922. Howard was also a doctor. Dr. Howard’s house is the basket and yarn shop next to Bradley Methodist Church.

In 1865, Henry Newby, in 1904, Henry Richey, and in 1922, Charles Nigh, served as town marshals. John Francis Mulvihill served as chief of police from 1926 to 1928 and should probably be considered the first with that title. Mulvihill also served three terms as the Hancock County Sheriff, and until 1922 he also served as a justice of the peace.

Charlie Glidewell served as Chief of Police from 1970 to 1983, the longest term to date. Did you know that the Greenfield Police Department was responsible for Animal Control in the 1960s?

The first detective at the Greenfield Police Department was Fred Offutt. Also included in the list of investigators are Jack Heiden, Jerry Wasson, Terry Bucksot and probably others. I have placed two copies in the local history room at the Hancock County Public Library, if you want to take a look.

Jim McWhinney and Dave and Denise Goodrich are attempting to save and restore photos of veterans that were in frames in the old Memorial Building basement and originally assembled and framed in front of the Hancock County Courthouse.

Do you know how the project originally came about? These photos will be digitized and placed in a poster display. The photos need saved, but we would also like to know the history of the project. Do you know anything about it? Please contact me so we can help honor the veterans.

Enough. I have told you everything I know and some things I don’t. Talk to me.