The Milwaukee Police Department was organized in 1855 with a determined chief, seven pugnacious officers, and little money. The department grew to 21 men by the start of the Civil War in 1861. Law enforcement in the city soon earned the national reputation for honesty, integrity, and fairness it has enjoyed into the 21st century. The Milwaukee Police Department was first in the country to establish a formal officer training school, police bomb disposal vehicle, and “talking squad car.” Nefarious criminals handled by the department include the foiled presidential assassin John Schrank, the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and characters with quaint nicknames like “Cat-eye Lil” and “Kelly the Choker.”
About the Author
Maralyn A. Wellauer-Lenius, a retired teacher and lifelong resident of Milwaukee, has a bachelor of science degree in history and a master of arts degree in education. Her father, a patrolman in the Milwaukee Police Department from 1934 to 1962, served as president of the Retired Police Association and was a trustee on the pension board. The author’s story of this well-trained, well-staffed, and well-equipped urban police department unfolds dramatically through images culled primarily from the Milwaukee Police Historical Society archive.