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History of the New Bedford Police Department
1822 Police Station
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In 1794 the first organized policing group was formed to protect people from "Garden Theft." This group of police officers, or watchman worked at night and guarded the businesses and people's gardens This was known as the Bedford Association.

New Bedford was growing. The Whaling Industry was making New Bedford a prosperous area, with businesses growing. With the growth in the economy came the need for more protection. It was during this time, 1824, that the "Night Watch" was established to combat a steady growth of robberies which usually occurred after the business owners had locked up for the night. These culprits were referred to as the "midnight robbers".
1915 Police Station The village of New Bedford was "officially" incorporated in 1847. The city was still in the "Night Watch" system, with an occasional visit from the constable from "Old Dartmouth". Due to growth of the city the needs of better security and order also became more demanding.

The Night Watch was headquartered on Second Street near the Customs House. The village of New Bedford needed a more organized policing system and the "Night Watch" became constables, and led by Henry Hathaway, and patrolled New Bedford at night. This continued until 1876 when the New Bedford Police Department was officially formed. Henry Hathaway, who headed the "Night Watch" became the first Chief of Police. The department consisted of 26 regular police officers and 83 part time (special) patrolmen.
1922 Police Station The first major renovations to the police headquarters, which was located on Second St. and Spring St, started in 1915 and then the station was renovated again between 1920 being completed in 1922.
Recent Police Station This "new building" served as the base of operations until December 31st, 1998.
1999 Police January 1, 1999 the New Bedford Police headquarters was relocated to temporary facility at 871 Rockdale Ave., west end of the city, a former grocery store, Fernandes Supermarket, later Maxi Drugs.

Authored by: Henry V. Jackson, Sr


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