The history of the Muskegon Police Department dates back to 1861, when Muskegon Village was incorporated and elected Marshal Luman Hamblin to be the only peace officer. He was responsible to keep order when loggers and rivermen arrived for a spree.
In 1869, the Village of Muskegon became the City of Muskegon. Until 1920, the personnel of the Muskegon Police Department changed almost annually with the change in administrations. The new charter providing for the commission-manager government in 1920 took the police department out of politics and placed it on a merit basis.
In 1925, Muskegon Police Detective Charles D. Hammond was shot and killed in a shoot-out on Halloween evening behind City Hall by murderer and escaped felon George “Dutch” Anderson who was also killed. Anderson had just been arrested for passing counterfeit money and had over $2,000.00 in counterfeit bills on him when killed.
Advancements came rapidly in the early years, not only to meet the needs of a growing City, but also to cope with the new problems of law enforcement and metropolitan life. The automobile with its traffic problems, juvenile delinquency, and crime detection, brought new duties to the modern police department.
In 1940, the Muskegon Police Department grew to a size of 50 police officers, selected on the merit system and trained for police duty as their life’s work.
In 1960, Vice President Richard Nixon visited Muskegon. He was quoted as saying Muskegon was, “The best policed town we’ve been in so far.” The Muskegon Police Department continued to evolve and modernize with the times. Revolvers were replaced with semi-automatic handguns, body armor became common place, and less than lethal weapons were utilized.
Currently, the Muskegon Police Department has 76 sworn officers working throughout the Patrol Bureau, Investigations Bureau, Neighborhood Policing Unit, and Administration. The Department provides law enforcement and policing functions for a 26 square mile area, including a variety of restaurants, retail stores, schools, industries, and residential neighborhoods.
The Muskegon Police Department has neighborhood officers assigned to each of the fifteen neighborhood association areas within the City of Muskegon. These officers are dedicated to community policing and working in partnership with residents to address the most pressing concerns of their neighborhoods. They provide crime prevention training for residents and students to take part in. They also participate in many community events designed to increase positive interaction between the police and the community. The Muskegon Police Department also works with residents and businesses on quality of life issues and may bring in or refer issues to other agencies as needed.
All units of the Muskegon Police Department are active in many community programs including Neighborhood Association Meetings, the Social Justice Commission, Caution Team, National Night Out, Citizen’s Police Academy, Public Safety Youth Academy, Youth Fishing Derby, Last Day of School Celebrations, Kids and Cops Cruise, Bike Safety Rodeos, Blight Fight, Dumpster Days, Shop with a Cop, Coffee with Cops, Touch the Trucks, Winter Sports Days, Talk and Walks, Student Awards, Miranda Party in the Park, Gang Resistance and Education Training, and Alcohol Liability Initiative.