THE HISTORY OF THE HINGHAM POLICE DEPARTMENT
From The Inception of The Settlement with The Massachusetts Bay
Colony in 1633 to today, as The Town of Hingham.
by: Brian E. Aiguier, Patrol Officer, Hingham Police Department
The Town of Hingham was established on September 2, 1635. It was the twelfth town to be founded in Massachusetts. It has a total of 22.5 square miles of land. The Atlantic Ocean on its north side, Hull, Cohasset, and Scituate on its east side, Norwell and Rockland border this coastal community on its southern boundaries, and Weymouth on its western side. The town is located approximately fifteen miles from Boston.
According to modern day historian, John P. Richardson, Hingham may have had settlers earlier than 1633. Numerous coastal settlements from Cape Anne to Wessagusset (Weymouth), some established by fishermen from England's southwest, failed in the 1620s and stragglers had moved down the coast as far as Konohassett (Cohasset) and Nantasket (Hull). Places along Hingham's shoreline from Martin's cove to Otis Hill, Walton's Cove, and Tucker's Swamp, preserve Southwest English names.
Its inhabitants first named Hingham Bare Cove, and the first indication on record shows that the colonial government (England) in 1634 taxed Bare Cove. Hingham (Bare Cove) was one of the original 12 towns to be part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony,
The only concerted "invasion" of East Anglians, arrived from the ship Diligent in 1638. This was when Robert Peck of Hingham, England, a minister, and fugitive from Episcopal persecution, sought refuge and brought twenty-plus families with him, In 1640, there were approximately 130 families, consisting of a population of approximately 700.
Records show that the first Constable, who also served as the first town clerk was Joseph Andrews. He was sworn in at the May Court in 1635. Prior to this a Watch and Ward was set up. The system of the Watch and Ward was originally set up in Boston in 1630, and was formally organized in a meeting on February 27, 1636, at a Boston Town Meeting. As in England, all young men over 16 years of age were required to take their turn on watch duty without pay. Their major duty was the protection of property from fire, rather than the suppression of crime.
As much as 60 percent of the original settlers of the town moved from Hingham, before their deaths. Disenchantment with the way the town was being run by local officials, religious-political differences with the Massachusetts Bay Colony, with vast numbers relocating to the Plymouth Bay Colony, brought the population down to 400 inhabitants. By 1647, the number of males over the age of 21 was only 75. New settlers over the coming years was very slow.
As late as 1768, only 25 barristers (lawyers) were in the entire province. Lawsuits were unpopular, issues being handled politically rather than legally. The newspaper, the Salem Mercury reported in 1789, that there had only been one jury trial between 1740 and 1789 and only one lawsuit in the prior six years. Also, the office of Constable, that symbol of legal authority, was hard to fill. Nobody wanted it. Rich men bought their way out, and others sought to be excused, This trend of avoiding the Constable's job increased after 1720, and definitely rose after 1740. It is believed that this trend marked a weakening of community responsibility and solidarity. Family and church control were breaking down.
By 1763, the alarming increase in drunkenness and disorderly conduct led to the forming of a committee to recommend remedies. There were approximately 15 inntaverns in Hingham, and the committee opted for only five. The town rejected the proposal. The harbor area was a center for sea-faring men and a few "disreputable and stealthy" women. Many taverns were located nearby, and incidents flourished.
Massachusetts was virtually in a state of war for forty-six of the seventy-five years between her mother country (England), France and Spain, between the years 1689 and 1763. These wars were often fought at sea by warships and privateers bent on disrupting the enemy's West Indian trade. Canada was still French and could threaten the coastal settlements. The French made alliances with disaffected and dispossessed Indians to harass English colonies, which included the settlement in Hingham.
Hingham men served up and down the coast and on the Canadian border. In the 1740s there was war with France and Canada. In 1756, the French and Indian War took place. Hingham men again took up the "battle cry" and enlisted their services for Canada. Roughly 224 men served on the town. quotas during the 1740s and 1750s, at a time when adult males in Hingham numbered no more than 700. It finally ended with the British victories at Quebec and Montreal, and the Treaty of Paris in 1763 established British control over North America. Hingham men had fought and died as loyal Englishmen. Soon after this victory, England appeared as a new enemy by taxing and attempting to control New England Trade. This began the labor pains of a new nation's birth, which encompassed the settlers of Hingham.
The town's system of poor relief was traditional and modest, handled by the Overseers of the Poor. A small part of the system consisted of the poor farm and almshouse, the old brick building of 1833 off Beal Street near the Back River, which is today's Project Turnabout. Those in total poverty, often elderly, some with incapacitating illnesses, were admitted here, along with thieves, incendiaries, and town drunks, until the Lock-Up opened in 1874. The almshouse averaged 15 to 18 occupants.
The years after the Civil War, inventions abounded that would revolutionize daily life. Hingham residents expected safety, comfort and convenience. The more they got, the more they expected. Such innovations as a safe water system for consumption were developed. The Board of Health struggled to control contagious diseases. The demand for safety in the streets was met with the arrival of electric lighting, but it also stirred debates over hiring policeman. The telephone brought not only convenience but added the safety of rapid communication. Also a brand new and efficient Fire Department aided by hydrants and electric alarms made some progress in the control of fires. These systems came to Hingham between 1880 and 1889, and were all linked to each other. However, there was no Police Department formed and no hiring of police officers to maintain law and order. The Constable's task was ever so burdensome, and he still wore many hats.
Through 1880 to 1887 there was much concern over the safety issue, but the town was not ready to pay policemen for ensuring peace and tranquillity. Incidents such as loafing at Broad Bridge, nude bathing at Mill Pond, vandalism in the North Ward, consisting of unhinging and destroying gates, trampling gardens, throwing stones at the windows of houses, storefronts, and factories, damaging street signs and lanterns, stealing fruit and hens, burglarizing homes and stores, were logged as offenses committed. In 1880, there were two night "policemen" on duty. The records reflect them as policemen, however, no police department had been organized as of yet. Their salary was $2.50 per night. However after a savings bank got burglarized twice, the treasurer of the bank moved the town to reduce their salary to $1.50 a night. In 1885, the motion was finally approved and the town found themselves without any night "policemen".
In 1886, the town was persuaded to spend $26. on a budget for "policemen", and the following year in 1887, the selectmen were authorized to hire four "policemen". During the 1890s the town saw fit to have eight "policemen" on the payroll, one of them being Washington I. James, who would later become the first police chief.
Chief Washington I James
In 1907, the Town of Hingham had its first organized police department. The Chief of Police was Washington I. James. The site of the police department was at 70 North Street. The foundation exists today as a small parking lot next to a kitchen cabinet store. The building was moved years later and is a residential home, located on Joy Lane, which is off East Street. Underneath,the location at 70 North Street, the Chief would put his horse and buggy. Today, the opening, which was in the rear, has been closed with cement block walls and garage doors, and has been an auto repair shop.
Washington Irving James was born in 1851 in the town of Hull, and came from a family who pioneered professional sea rescuing. He was known to many as "Wash" James. During his career as Police Chief, the streets were considered by many to be more dangerous than they are today. There was a confused mix of trains, streetcars, buggies and teams with frightened horses, and the new "terrifying" automobiles. Hingham Square was the thoroughfare to Nantasket Beach because no other road ran along the edge of the harbor as it does today, being Route 3A. As many as eight thousand vehicles might crawl through Hingham Square on a summer day.
Managing traffic outside New North Church during Governor Long's funeral in August 1915, Chief James was knocked down by a horse that was spooked by an auto. The same week two bandits at the lock-up at 70 North Street beat him on the head with a hammer and escaped. A passing physician picked up the bleeding chief in his auto and together they chased the bandits. The chief leaned out of the auto and fired his gun, killing one and capturing the other.
Over the years, Chief James had to contend with strikers, bootleggers, suffragettes, volatile family feuds, gypsies and the Klu Klux Klansmen.
He is most fondly remembered by many of our senior citizens for meeting the midnight theater train from Boston and ensuring that the residents returned home safely. The train station being located in what today houses the British Relief Restaurant/Catering Business and the retail store, The Bowl and Board, which are located on North Street across from St. Paul's Church.
Town records show that he resigned from the police department on December 3 1, 1927. At his death in 1928, hundreds filled St. Paul's Church on North Street, for his funeral. During comments from the pulpit, it was stated "He was a man small in stature, but large in the life of Hingham". No more would "Wash" (his nickname) be patrolling the streets of Hingham in his horse drawn buggy, with his constant companion and friend, his dog beside him.
THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD
THE SECOND POLICE CHIEF
Chief Harold A. Macfarlane
On January 1, 1928, Harold A. MacFarlane became Hingham's next police chief . He was a Hingham resident, but was not a member of the Hingham Police Department previously. He came from the ranks of the Massachusetts State Police and had achieved the rank of corporal. While in the State Police some of the duties that he performed were driver and bodyguard to then Governor Allen. Chief MacFarlane implemented many innovative changes with the police department. The compliment of officers was at 18 strong at this time, an all time high. Replaced by the horse and buggy were motorcycles, and two-way radio equipped cruisers. An ambulance was also purchased to transport the sick and injured.
A resident of Hingham, Peter Bradley, acknowledged as a primary influence on the development of the Arabian horse in America, donated a triangle piece of land at the intersection of Route 3A and Lincoln Street, for the erection of a new building for the-police department to be housed in.
With the advent of the automobile and the motorcycle, also came accidents with not only other motorized vehicles, but also with pedestrians. Speeding became a new offense for the police to pursue and stop lawbreakers. Those that mixed alcohol with their driving added new offenses to the dockets.
Chief MacFarlane also implemented new levels of rank. The Department was to consist of one Chief, one Captain, two Sergeants, and the remainder being patrolmen.
Chief Harold A. MacFarlane served on the Hingham Police Department for 26 years; He retired from police service on December 31, 1953.
THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD
THE THIRD POLICE CHIEF
Chief Oscar P. Beck
Oscar P. Beck assumed the reigns of Chief of Police for the Town of Hingham on January 1, 1954. Oscar Beck was a Sergeant on the force before being promoted. He served on the police department for a total of 33 years. During his tour of duty as Chief of Police, the motorcycles were still in use. Patrol cars with two-way radios were still employed and upgraded as the new models arrived on the market. There were two walking beats that had been implemented earlier by Chief MacFarlane, and this tradition continued under Chief Beck's watch. One beat was in Hingham Square, and the other in the Cove area, and both beats housed an assortment of business merchants.
On April 30, 1963 he retired and ran for the position of Town Selectman, he won the position and served for many terms, always being re-elected. Oscar Beck's total service to the Town of Hingham, when he retired from Selectman was 50 years. His son John Beck was also a police officer for the Town of Hingham, and retired as a patrolman. Oscar Beck's son- in- law, William Schmitt also served on the police department and served the Town of Hingham as a patrolman, Detective Sergeant, Captain and Acting Chief. William (Bill) Schmitt retired at the rank of Captain.
THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD
THE FOURTH POLICE CHIEF
Chief Raymond C. Campbell
The fourth police chief to take office was Raymond C. Campbell. Chief Campbell rose through the ranks from patrolman at age 25, Sergeant at 29, Detective Sergeant at 33, Captain at 37 and Chief at age 38. Chief Campbell took office on May 1, 1963.
During his term as Chief the compliment of officers grew to 43. The positions on the department reflected one chief, one captain, three lieutenants, five sergeants, two detectives (from the newly formed detective division), and thirty-one patrolmen. Two female record clerks were also hired. The first female officer was hired, but resigned after a short stay. The ambulance service, which was run by the police department, shifted over to the Hingham Fire Department. A joint effort by Police Chief Campbell and Fire Chief Warren Lincoln brought about advanced first aid training to all police officers and firefighters, also EMT training for the firefighters, since they would be responding with the ambulance now. Uniforms changed from gray to light blue with dark blue epaulets, the police badge was redesigned, and the police arm patch was redesigned by the Chief and his Captain, Walter Bartlett. The weapons carried by the officers went from a .38 caliber revolver to a.357 magnum revolver. Training on the handgun and the shotgun was done downstairs in the police department pistol range, as the Chief was an avid gun enthusiast. Portable radios were made available for officers on walking beats. Police call boxes at strategic areas of town were still being used, and had gone back as early as Chief MacFarlane. One located in the Square, one in the Cove, one in West Hingham, and one in South Hingham at Queen Anne's Corner. The county set up a training academy for police officers for all recruits. Before, those coming into the police ranks spent one month in Framingham, Massachusetts with the State Police for training, and lived in tents. During Chief Campbell's tour of duty as Chief, the Plymouth County Commissioners and the Chiefs of Police for the neighboring towns formed the Plymouth County Radio Committee. From this committee sprung up towers in Hanson (High St.) Judge's Hill in Norwell, and Middleborough. Better reception was now being transmitted and received by the police units to headquarters. Also this same committee helped to start the BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigation), a county operated facility to aid the surrounding towns with investigative services when needed.
Chief Campbell had a reputation as a crack shot with his handgun. He was timed on the "quick draw" officially, with a western holster, and was faster than the fastest "quick draw" stuntmen/actors in Hollywood. He was not only quick, but also accurate, hitting a card, with only the thin edge facing him. This was documented with the Boston Globe, in the 1950s, with a story and pictures.
He retired from the police department in November of 1981. After retirement, he started a security company.
THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD
THE POSITION OF ACTING POLICE CHIEF
On October 2, 1981 the Board of Selectmen appointed Captain William Schmitt Acting Chief. Lieutenant Francis B. Krause was appointed to Acting Captain.
THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD
THE FIFTH POLICE CHIEF
Chief William T. Cushing
The fifth Police Chief for the Hingham Police Department was William T. Cushing. He was appointed Chief, from the rank of Lieutenant, at a Selectmen's meeting on June 28, 1983, which would take effect on July 1, 1983. At this time Acting Chief Schmitt returned to the rank of Captain. As soon as Chief Cushing took office, he commenced renovating the building, which included the garage where new spring- loaded-automatic doors were installed. These doors could be opened and closed by the dispatcher in headquarters, by pressing a button on their control panel. He had a number of projects lined up, including many innovative changes with personnel. On October 5th, 1983, all would all be cut short when Chief Cushing was stricken with a heart attack while on duty at the police station and died. He was in office for a little over two months and died at the age of 57. It was stated by more than one police officer that worked with him that Bill was truly a Cop's Cop.
THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD
ACTING STATUS COMES AGAIN
October 15, 1983, Lieutenant Joachim-Ingo Borowski took the helm as Acting Chief
THE GUARD DOES NOT CHANGE
THE SIXTH POLICE CHIEF
Chief Joachim-Ingo Borowski
Before the end of 1983 came to a close, Acting Chief Joachim-Ingo Borowski was made Chief of Police. Chief Borowski had come up through the ranks from patrolman, to Sergeant, to Lieutenant. Also being a Marine Veteran, he became a Marine Reservist at South Weymouth Naval Air Station and attained the coveted positions as "Gunny Sergeant" and "Base Sergeant Major". Before he retired from the Marine Reserve, he was involved with Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, which was commanded by General "Storm'n Norman" Schwarzkopf.
While Chief Borowski was away with Operation Desert Storm, the town appointed Lieutenant Edmund J. Burgess as acting police chief. Chief Edmund J. Burgess served until Chief Borowski returned from Desert Storm. While away with the military the town's residents voted to remove the position of Police Chief from Civil Service, which would commence with the next police chief. This seems to be a trend that is sweeping New England, usually with three-year contracts.
Serving, as Second-In-Command during Chief Borowski's administration was Captain William Schmitt for many years and after Captain Schmitt's retirement, Lieutenant Steven Carlson took over as Captain.
THE SEVENTH POLICE CHIEF
On July 2000, the Board of Selectmen appointed Captain Steven D. Carlson Chief of Police. Chief Carlson is a Vietnam Veteran, obtaining the rank of First Lieutenant while serving in the United States Army. He flew on dozens of volunteer combat air missions and was highly decorated. He brings with him a wealth of new and exciting innovative ideas and is keeping the force on track into the new millennium. Already, a civilian high school academy was added in September of 2000. High school students at Hingham High School can earn credits by attending Law Enforcement classes in their school, taught by Hingham Police Officers. He has currently earned his Master's Degree in Criminal Justice.
The department has implemented E-91 1, which is the enhanced 911 system, to aid callers to the police and fire departments with the E-91 I civilian dispatch personnel taking emergency calls for assistance to be dispatched to police cruisers, fire fighters, and ambulance services. There is a DARE Officer assigned to the schools Monday through Friday. There is also a Safety Officer who is assigned to the schools and handles the crossing guards and is responsible for school bus safety and the safety of the school children to and from school. The Safety Officer is also very involved with agencies regarding Hate Crimes. There is a K-9 Officer who has a police dog. Presently he serves as shift supervisor and K-9 Officer when needed.
There are Crime Prevention Officers, which are also patrol officers who assist and advise residents on how to be safe in their homes, and while traveling in and around town. There is a Bike Patrol Unit with 16 officers representing the four different shifts. There is also an Internal Affairs Division for complaints, and the Chief assigns the IA Officer, when it becomes necessary. This position is always a ranking officer. There is a Detective Division and not only do they perform all the duties as a detective but also wear the hats of Juvenile Officer, and very much involved with Domestic Violence. A Prosecutor is assigned to the Hingham District Court, but also maintains a desk at Headquarters. There is a Civilian Police Academy and a Civilian High School Police Academy established, which each has a Sergeant as the Director. The Civilian Police Academy students, composed of adult residents of the town, meet at the police station briefing room. The High School Civilian Police Academy meets in classrooms at the High School. There is a Traffic Safety Division with 8 officers and a Sergeant in charge. There are two officers for each shift. They have been trained by the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council and instructors from the Hingham Police Department, who been MCJTC certified. Their duties are to investigate accidents and the re-construction of accident scenes, including fatalities. Their duties are to enforce all traffic regulations and to keep a smooth traffic flow. They also make recommendations to the Traffic Sergeant about hazardous or problem areas in town that need addressing for the safety of the public. There are four shifts on the department: the day shift is 8AM to 4PM, the evening shift is 4PM to Midnight, the night shift is Midnight to 8AM and there is a relief shift to fill in for the 4-12 and 12-8 shifts on their days off. Each shift has a Lieutenant, whose duty is Officer in Charge.This officer is assigned at the command center in Headquarters, and is responsible for the overall operation of the shift. There is a Sergeant assigned to each shift, whose duty is Patrol Supervisor. The Patrol Supervisor is assigned to a cruiser and supervisors all the officers on their shift, reporting directly to the O.I.C.
The compliment on the department at any given time is between 45-50 officers. This compliment consists of one chief, one captain, four lieutenants, six sergeants, and the remaining being patrol officers, two of which are females.
The Department serves a population of 20,000, with 10,000 more employed by businesses within the town. There are also 100,000 travelers on the roadways daily. The 22.56 square miles of land in the town also consist of four major highways.
There are nine marked black and white patrol units, and unmarked units for the Chief, Captain, Administrative Lieutenant, and the Detective Division. Two of the marked units are traffic units, which are equipped with front, and rear mounted radar units, for the detection of speeding vehicles from a stationary or moving position. They are also equipped with LOJACK, for locating stolen vehicles, which have had the LOJACK system installed in their automobiles. There are also audio/visual video cameras onboard these traffic units.
HT 1000 portable Motorola radios are issued to each officer with a charger and are state of the art. Also Mag Lite flashlights with chargers replace the old battery flashlights, where one had to keep changing batteries constantly. Many of the officers carry their own personal pagers and cell phones to help aid them in performing their duties as a police officer.
The.357 magnum has been replaced with a 9-mm semi-automatic. Training is a constant process, which includes day and night qualifying. The department has its own certified range instructors.
The uniforms have changed from the light blue shirts to the Boston Police dark blue pants and shirts. Advanced first aid training is a constant and we have one of our own officers as an instructor, who has been certified.
The police department has two unions, one for the patrolmen and one for the supervisors. There is also a police association. Each year there is a Police Christmas Party for the adults and for the children with Santa Claus. Each year the Association serves dinner for the Senior Citizens of Hingham.
Regarding sports, there is a softball team, a hockey team, and once a year the Patriots play against the Hingham Police Officers on the Basketball Court. This Basketball event is sponsored by the DARE program and the attendance in the stands is fantastic.
Once a year, there is a Law Enforcement Day. This is primarily for youngsters; however, a lot of adults come too. Also there is games, which give the atmosphere one of a carnival or a fair.
The Police Department, along with other town departments is now located at 212 Central Street, and is the site of the former Central Junior High School. Ironically, it was in 1936, that the Town of Hingham located property on Central Street and was taking it over by eminent domain, to the consternation of the property owner. The Town decided not to go through with the transaction and thus the station ended up at Route 3A and Lincoln Street, at 169 Lincoln Street, where it remained until the later part of 1999. After the study committees searching for a suitable site for the building to be located today, as in 1936, it came to be that it would end up on Central Street after all.
The Hingham Police Department is a Civil Service Department. It is stressing education to the new recruits and its current officers. With the excellent colleges and universities in Massachusetts, higher education in the field of Criminal Justice and its related fields can only aid in making good police officers better police officers.
In 1998, the Hingham Police Department received the Quinn Bill. It is an educational incentive measure at professionalizing the police officers with greater knowledge, understanding and compassion in performing their duties. The first three officers to receive their Master's Degrees in Criminal Justice were Brian E. Aiguier, Anna Maria College, 1997; Katie Knab, Anna Maria College, 1998; and Tom Greeley (transferred to Weymouth PD), Anna Maria College, 1999. Many others are enrolled today and many others have received their Bachelor's and Master's Degrees as well. There are two officers who have completed Law School while members of the force. They are Sgt. Paul K. Healey (1988) and Matthew McKenna (2000). Both deserve special mention.
This paper was put together after interviewing many people, and reading and using material from a number of sources. All are listed in a reference on the back page. It seems that from even before the inception of an organized police department in Hingham, many of the problems existed, that existed after it was formed and continued throughout the years and continue even today.
In the early years of our settlement as Bare Cove in 1633, and our incorporating as the Town of Hingham in 1635, there were problems to contend with in the New World. The Watch and Ward and the Constables were the cement that helped keep the community from becoming unglued during times of crisis.
Between 1720 and 1740, problems were blamed on a breakdown in family and church values and a weakening of community responsibility. Nearly 300 years later, these same issues are mirrored with the media through television, newspapers, and the Internet. Also Civic Leaders, Political Leaders, Clergy, Teachers, and Law Enforcement Officials.
In 1763, the town attempted to limit the number of Inn-Taverns furnishing liquor, believing they were the reasons for drunkenness, moral decay, and criminal activity. These issues are echoed today, not only in Hingham, but also in many of the surrounding communities. Towns still want to limit the number of drinking establishments, hoping it will curtail the increase in the number of drunk drivers and motor vehicle accidents and violations.
The 1880s mention vandalism, nude bathing, loafing (loitering), drunkenness, damaging street signs, vandalism, and burglarizing homes and businesses. These same offenses continue.
If anything can be learned by this travel in time from our inception as the Massachusetts Bay Colony to the Town of Hingham of today, is that as much as things change, much remains the same. However, we must strive for the best in all of us to be the best that we can be to ourselves and to our fellow citizens. In doing so, I believe our Department will shine into the 21st Century and beyond.
THE EIGHTH POLICE CHIEF
NOT ALL IS CHANGED- A Life History of Hingham.
Lorena Laing Hart
Francis Russell Hart
HINGHAM PORTRAIT GALLERY, (1924), published by the Hingham Historical Society
John P. Richardson, Historical Resource Consultant, Hingham Antique Book Store
(Retired) Chief Raymond C. Campbell, Hingham Police Department
Chief Joachim-Ingo Borowski, Chief of Police, Hingham Police Department (Retired in 2000)
Chief Steven D. Carlson, Hingham Police Department
Thomas Wallace, Hingham Veteran's Agent, Bureau of Weights and Measures (Hingham)
Thomas Hall, Former Town Clerk, Town of Hingham
Sergeant Brad Durant, Relief Shift Patrol Supervisor, Hingham Police
Hingham Annual Town Reports (from the Hingham Town Library and Town Clerks Office)
Brian Edgar Aiguier, Patrolman, Hingham Police Department , MA/Criminal Justice
Chief Donald F. Brooker, Hull Police Department, MA/ Criminal Justice
Judith Orcutt, Plymouth County Sheriff's Office, Deputy, Corrections Officer