The History of the Buckhannon Police Department

  • Records of the City of Buckhannon date back to the year 1853 in the form of City Council minutes. Although the city wasn’t officially chartered by the state until the 1930s, the town still kept record of events, including that of the police. The title of Chief of Police can be traced back through these records to the early 1900s. Prior to this time, dating back clear to 1853, this title was known as Town Sergeant. The Chief of Police evolved from this position by the early 1900s and has been referred to as such ever since. 
  • Records of a regular standing police force are sketchy. At the time of the Town Sergeant, there was little to no mention of any other officer other than the Town Sergeant. At different points throughout the period 1853 – 1920s, there was mention of individuals being employed by the City as “special police” on a temporary basis, however. According to the records, these individuals were “qualified” and served in the temporary capacity as an aide to the Town Sergeant. Other than that, the strongest evidence of a regular force isn’t found until around the mid-1900s when the Police Civil Service took effect in the City of Buckhannon. 
  • Between the years 1900 – 1903, the City of Buckhannon was effectively split into two towns – Buckhannon and South Buckhannon. During this time the town of South Buckhannon kept records as well, and in these there is evidence of a jail existing there. 
  • Prior to the County Communications Center, City Hall would dispatch calls to the City Police. During this time period, foot patrol was a popular means of policing in town. When an officer would get a call, City Hall would activate a light affixed to the street lights on Main Street, alerting the officer to return to the station at City Hall and take the call. This method of communication was used as late as the 1970s. Before the replacement of the traffic lights on Main Street in the mid-2000s, these “communication lights” could still be seen. Starting in the late 1960s - early 1970s, officers were also equipped with two-way radios to city hall during their working hours, but maintained radio contact with the on-duty fireman at the Buckhannon Fire Department 24 hours a day
  • The mayor was responsible for holding court on violations of all city ordinances until the late 1980s. After that, the municipal court was established and a regular municipal judge was appointed by the mayor to fulfill these obligations.
  • In 1940, Buckhannon Officer Wilbur Grubb was murdered on Camden Avenue while responding to a call of an assault and attempted rape. This is the only evidence found of a Buckhannon policeman ever being killed in the line of duty. Please see the Memorials page of this website for more information.

Chiefs of Police

NAME BEGINNING YEAR ENDING YEAR
Matt Gregory2004Present
Virgil Miller20012004
J.C. Rafferty20002001
Fred Gaudet19931999
Larry Marsh19881992
Richard Osburn19781988
Don Ervin19771978
John Craig19761977
Allman Grose19631975
Paul Mackey19521963
James Westfall19511952
D.D. Marple19431951
John Martin19421943
J.C. Berry19371942
Woodson Martin19341937
C.A. McVaney19321934
G.E. Ashworth19311932
H.E. Dean19301931
S.E. Taylor19261930
J.B. Stalnaker19251926
Lloyd Davis19241925
W.E. Kiddy19231924
Showing entries (filtered from total entries)
Address

Buckhannon Public
Safety Complex
24 South Florida Street
Buckhannon WV 26201

Contacts

Email: Administration
Email: Chief of Police
Email: VIPS Program

Phone

Emergencies: Dial 9-1-1
Tip Line: (304) 472-1001
Phone: (304) 472-5723
Fax: (304) 473-7911

Address

Buckhannon Public
Safety Complex
24 South Florida Street
Buckhannon WV 26201

Contacts

Email: Administration
Email: Chief of Police
Email: VIPS Program

Phone

Emergencies: Dial 9-1-1
Tip Line: (304) 473-1001
Phone: (304) 472-5723
Fax: (304) 473-7911