During the early years of Marcellus Village history, the role of policeman, as we know it, did not exist. However, there was elected an individual whose title was that of pound master, and he was responsible to see that roaming domestic animals were kept out of the Village.
To prevent them from foraging in local stores or village gardens, the pound master would round up these animals and place them in an enclosure, wait for an owner to retrieve the animal and exact fine from that person. He would often perform the duties of village lamp lighter during the night and also act as watchman,looking out for fires that might threaten village homes, businesses and residents.
Beginning in 1871, the Village Board decided to appoint a police constable, whose powers of keeping the peace were somewhat limited. In addition to the appointment of Stores M. Griffin as Village Constable, "the Village maintained a small stone ten-by-twelve lock-up with an iron barred door in a space behind the present Marcellus Supply Company".
Its most requent inmates were the Saturday night over-indulgers, who were arrested by the local constable, not for DWI, but for disturbing the peace. At a later date, two steel barred cells, each containing a cot, were installed in the fire house."
Throughout the remainder of the century, the duties of the constable were somewhat limited to such action as quelling disturbances, preventing boys from rolling hoops through the corporation limits, or violating other sections of the Village ordinances such as throwing coal ashes or other refuse into the streets. At times, when a fair or picnic or some other public event took place, the Trustees would appoint other individuals as special police to supplement the constable's duties and try to curb any rowdyism that might occur.
In the 1890's, there was a growing concern about what was referred to as "rampant rowdyism" as well as a growing interest in the national temperance movement.
In response to this, the Board of Trustees would rewrite Village Ordinances in 1898, enacting a number of laws which required more stringent enforcement by the Village Constable and when a curfew for those under the age of 16 was enacted by the Board of Trustees in 1899, his duties were increased accordingly. At the turn of the century, not only did James Powell serve as Village police commissioner, but he was also the fire and street commissioner as well, for which services he was paid $1.50 per day.
Modern Police Department
The Marcellus Police Department as we know it today was established in 1966 when the Village hired a part-time police officer who served under the direction of Trustee and acting Chief of Police, Donald Paul. "In 1967, a patrol car was purchased and the Village began employing off-duty Onondaga County Deputy Sheriffs on a part-time basis. In January, 1972, a federal grant made it possible for the Village of Marcellus to employ its first full time police officer.
Part-time officers were continued, and the deputy sheriffs were gradually replaced with men trained at the Central New York Regional Police Academy. From 1974 to July 1977, the department consisted of one full time officer and five part time officers. The use of two patrol cars began in 1976. From 1966 until his death ten years later, Donald Paul continued to serve on the Village Board and also as acting Chief of the police department.
In June, 1976, Charles E. Paul succeeded his father as Chief of Police. First appointed to the department in 1972, Charles had been promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1974. An additional federal grant in 1977 made it possible for the police department to employ a full time patrolman and a full time youth officer, who also served as a police officer. As of September, 1977, the
Marcellus Village Police Department consisted of a Chief of Police, one part-time police sergeant, one full time patrolman, one youth officer patrolman and four part time patrolman." (Heffernan, 238-239).
Throughout the 1980's and 1990's, the size of the Village Police Force varied from 7 to 8, mostly part-time officers. With the retirement of Chief Paul in 1995, the Police Department has been in a state of flux. In an effort to meet requirements by Onondaga County Civil Service that the department be headed by a certified Chief of Police, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution that enlisted the administrative services of the Chief and Lieutenant of Police of the Village of North Syracuse. This agreement lasted until it was terminated by the North Syracuse Village Board of Trustees in December, 1999.
Reacting to resident concern about an increase in vandalism and juvenile loitering, the Board of Trustees, authorized the Village Police Department to work with concerned citizens of Marcellus and begin a Neighborhood Watch Program and also urges resident participation.
Meetings were held during the last quarter of 1999 and the Watch has been fully implemented during the year 2000. A Neighborhood Watch involves a group of concerned citizens working together to help one another. It also helps to promote pride in a neighborhood. If you would like to join and/or learn more about the Neighborhood Watch program, please attend future meetings, which are held monthly at the Village Hall. Call the Village Office (673-3112) for more information.
The Village Police Chief would like to remind residents that it is essential that they report any incidents of crime or mischief in their neighborhoods by calling 911. All too often, residents are not making these calls because they feel that an issue might not warrant it. Some residents might be calling the Marcellus Police Department and will often listen to an answering machine because the officer is out on patrol. Residents must call 911.
If still not satisfied with the results, make sure that you contact the Village Office during business hours and let them know of your concern (673-3112). If there are any other questions, suggestions or comments for the Village of Marcellus Police Department, please call the Chief of Police at (315) 673-2079.
Today, the Village of Marcellus Police
Department is an ten person, mostly part-
time agency, which provides basic police
protection and a full range of law
enforcement services, responding to over
100 calls each month, totaling about 1200
annually. The services provided by the
agency include but are not limited to:
• property checks, residential and business
• traffic, penal law and local law enforcement
• police escort for village businesses
• local crime prevention programs
• juvenile justice services
The Village of Marcellus Police Department
has committed itself to attain New York State
Accreditation and is working to develop policy
and procedures consistent with the standards
of the New York State Accreditation Council.
The agency has begun and is maintaining an
aggressive in-service training program for its
officers that includes but is not limited to:
• firearms qualification
• use of force policy and law
• hazardous material training
• exposure to blood borne pathogens
• self defense training
• domestic violence legal updates
• search and seizure procedures
• basic case management and preliminary
• investigation procedures
• community policing
• juvenile justice procedure