The history of the Calistoga Police Department dates back to before the City was incorporated in 1886. On April 3, 1878, the Citizens employed G. W. Millett as a night watchman to preserve order and to watch for fires. On June 12, of that year Dick Stone was the night watchman. July 3, 1878, A. C. Palmer was appointed as honorary Marshal for the July 4th parade. A Marshal performed the duties of what is now the Chief of Police. The duties of Marshal included collecting business licenses, street repairs, property taxes, investigate and enforce business license violations, impound stray animals, collect animal impound fees, collect dog licenses, collect poll tax, and supervise the chain gang
December of 1885 marked a new interest for the citizens to incorporate the City of Calistoga. The population at that time was 1,000, with many immigrants working in the quicksilver mines. On Monday December 23, 1885, voters approved incorporation with a slate of officers by a vote of 135 yes to 19 no votes. Trustees - L. Kortum, A.M. Gardner, H.E. Cyrus, S.C. Way, William Bounsal; Clerk - G.F. Boynton; Treasurer - H. Getleson; Marshal - Cornelius H. Nash. The City of Calistoga was officially incorporated January 6, 1886. J.L. Multer made a silver badge for Marshal Nash, the city's first law enforcement officer. Nash died April 18, 1921 in Los Gatos, CA. His death certificate lists his occupation as "Stage Driver". No one knew his birth date or the name of his mother or father at that time. It was documented that he had been born in Tennessee and he was 75 years old at his death. On April 12, 1886, the city's first election was held following the incorporation election. C.H. Nash retained his seat against three challengers. The office of Marshal was an elected position. October 3, 1887, J.S. Rookard was appointed as a part-time officer to assist Marshal Nash. The Police Department was part of city hall. Early map shows city hall at Gerard and Washington St. (unknown which quadrant) probably where Calistoga Spa is now, from 1886-1893. City hall was then moved to the Masonic Hall on Lincoln Avenue in 1893. At some time before 1901, city hall moved to Washington and First St. (unknown quadrant) where it was destroyed in the fire of 1901. Following the fire, it occupied the present city hall building.
City hall in 1948. Fire Dept in front, City Hall to right, Police Dept at rear.
Tuesday March 20, 1888 at "the house on Railroad Ave., between 2d and 3rd Street", Leopold Bizzini, 31 yrs, shot his wife to death with a revolver and then committed suicide with the same gun. The City's first homicide was a result of a domestic dispute in which the victim bought a dress that the suspect thought made her look too pretty. Following the argument, she did not cook dinner and he killed her.
May 9, 1888 John Wright(AKA Graham) of Calistoga, was being held in the St Helena jail for the Apr 22, 1888 murder of Robert Vann. He was forcibly removed from the jail by a lynch mob, and was hung at Berringer Winery. St. Helena Marshal Swartout was at home at the time. Night Watchman York was on his rounds. The lynch mob forcibly took the keys to the jail from the judge. Wright had shot Vann after Vann threw a rock through the window of the Pink Saloon in St Helena because the prostitutes inside, all from Calistoga and including Wrights' sister, had closed for the evening. Wright was hung at Barrenger's and Barrenger found the body. The Napa County Board of Supervisors refused to offer $250.00 for identification of persons responsible for lynching John Wright, AKA Graham. The Grand Jury later censured the Board of Supervisors and the St Helena Justice of Peace for the lynching situation.
In September of 1890, it was noted that Napa County Sheriff McKenzie came to Calistoga. This was a rare event, and the whole town welcomed him.
In 1890 Marshal Nash took a leave of absence and E.H. Cable was appointed Marshal to fill in for him. E.H. Cable was a contractor, who watered the city streets to keep the dust down. The Calistoga stage, driven by A.P. Palmer, was robbed just above the Old Toll House on Lawley - Old Toll Rd. Following the stage robbery, Marshal E.H. Cable, Sheriff McKenzie, Constable Cherry, night watchman George Doss and W. Butler, after tracking the stage coach robbers, pursued the suspects down MT. St Helena to Tubbs Rd, to Knights Valley where they captured James Berkeley, 30 yrs from Mass. and Joseph Morgan, 39 yrs, from Penn.. A third suspect escaped but was later captured. Suspects were held overnight in the Calistoga Jail and then taken to Napa. They were returned on July 2, 1890 for preliminary examination where they pled guilty and declined counsel.
In 1896 W.H. Monroe defeated Marshal Nash in an election and became the Marshal. In April of 1898, Nash ran against Monroe and again won the position of Marshal.
In 1889, Former Sheriff McKenzie was arrested for embezzlement. New Napa County Sheriff Dunlap appointed every Constable and City Marshal in the county as a Deputy Sheriff. The peace officers of the county contemplate organizing and holding regular meetings for mutual protection of their constituents.
August 9, 1901, the town jail burned in a city fire. A temporary jail was established in a boxcar at the railroad. Prisoners were also held at Saint Helena Police Department.
In April 1902, David Rose was elected Marshal with a salary of $ 80.00 a month. D.E. Power was appointed night watchman with a salary of $ 16.00 a month. In 1904 David Rose was referred to as the Chief of Police. For a brief period in 1904, David Rose was referred to as the night watchman and David Poweras the Chief of Police.
In 1907, S.B. Doss was night watchman. The City of Calistoga payroll records reflected there were the positions of Marshal, Deputy Marshal and two night watchmen. In September, Rose died in office, at the age of 76, and the Deputy Marshal N. Daniels took over the position. A month later D.E. Power was appointed to replace Rose. Frank Couch was appointed as Marshal in 1909, to replace DE Power who resigned. Power resigned because he was disgusted with municipal politics. There is no money for street repairs because the Fire Department purchased a new fire engine. David Power will retain his positions of Constable and Deputy Sheriff.
June 2, 1911, Night Watchman C. W. Nance fired five shots (five shot revolver) at a fleeing suspicious person. It was later found the person was fleeing an attempted burglary of Largey's Saloon. June 16, 1911 Constable David POWER arrested Spencer Simmons on a Marin County arrest warrant for burglary. Simmons was in possession of keys, files and nippers (burglary tools). (These tools are now on display at police department). June 30, 1911,E. Light and E. C. Locey were appointed as Deputy Marshal's for the July 4 activities.
In January of 1912, F.S. CROUCH was the Marshal, and C.W. Nance was the night watchman. Women voted for first time in Calistoga that year, with 196 men/ 101 women voting. Following a law change by State Legislature, the Marshal was no longer an elected position, rather it was appointed by the City Council. The Marshal and night watchman were appointed for two-year terms. F.S. COUCH was appointed by the City Council as Marshal. Former Marshal, and currently the elected Constable, D.E. POWER was appointed as Night Watchman.
In August of 1933 the city first studied the possibility of constructing a new City Hall with funds from the National Public Works Bill. Mayor Rocca and Council member Kenny were appointed to a committee to get additional information. Chief Pierce was given $ 50.00 to help pay insurance on his personal vehicle which he used in his duties. In February the Chamber of Commerce protested the remodel of city hall as it would delay building a new one. A new city hall was never built.
In June of 1934 W. Simpson was paid $ 5.25 as a special Police Officer. The City Clerk was instructed by the Council to notify the night watchman that it would be his duties to sweep the streets, and the bridge sidewalk, three times a week. In September Officer Van Valkenburg was granted 2 weeks vacation and Harry Higgins was appointed to substitute during that time. A month later, Van Valkenburg resigned. E. J. Cook, J.H Coulter, J.A. Power and Harry Higgins applied for the vacant position. Harry Higgins was appointed. In October of 1934 a Police Signal was approved at a cost of $ 1.85 a month. This was a light that was placed over the main intersection in town (Lincoln & Washington) and came on whenever the police phone rang.
In May of 1934 a Mr. Pollock complained to the City Council that Chief Pierce was not attending to his duties, and not wearing his uniform. Others said the position of Chief and Constable being held by one man demanded more compensation than the $ 70.00 a month and $ 15.00 a month for a car. As a result, H.C Van Valkenburg was re-appointed to the night Police Officer, Chief Pierce was re-appointed at $ 80.00 a month and J.W. Winkelman was re-appointed the Police Judge. In November, Council member Pollock moved that the position of Chief of Police be declared vacant as of the end of the year. Chief Carl Pierce resigned by letter effective 1-1-35 and Ed Light was appointed Chief of Police. Henry Rockstroth was appointed the Night Officer. The city paid Chief Pierce $ 25.00 for his "Duncan" police siren, which he gave to Ed Light.
In 1936 L.H.Decker was a special Police Officer during January, and Joe Coulter was a special Police Officer In February. On April 20, there was an election and Ed Light was re-appointed Chief of Police and license collector. He was paid $ 70.00 a month and 10% of all business licenses collected. Harry Higgins was re-appointed night Officer at $ 90.00 a month. The hours of night officer were 8 PM to 4 AM.. Special Officers working during the year included Henry Rockstroth, L.H.Decker, Antonio Fambrini, and Joe Powers. On May 7, City Ordinance #189 was passed to change the name from the Town of Calistoga to the City of Calistoga.
On October 1, 1937, Ernie E Ward was appointed as the City's first pound master. He resigned at the end of the year and Joseph Fambrini was appointed. Through 1938 special Police Officers included Henry Rockstroth, J.H.Coulter, and Jack L. Stockton.
In January of 1939 Harry Higgins resigned and Jack Bolina was appointed to fill the position on a month to month basis at $ 3.50 a shift. Ex-Chief Carl Pierce was appointed to the position of Night Officer in March at a salary of $ 100.00 a month.
In 1940 the practice of having the Night Officer sweep the streets three times a week was questioned, but it continued. The Chief and Night Officer were also granted 4 days off each month. Ed Light was still the Chief, being paid $ 70.00 a month, 10% of the business licenses, and $ 25.00 a month for the use of his car. He was also ordered to assist the pound master, Otto Bohn. In Sept. Chief Light reported that for August there were 11 citations issued and one arrest was made on a warrant. Judge Winkelman reported that 10 traffic violators were fined. Clarence Thom (later a Mayor) was a relief Police Officer. Effective October 1, Carl Pierce the night watchman had his salary reduced $ 10.00 a month, as he no longer was required to sweep the streets. James Anderson worked in 1940 as a relief Officer, City utility man, and Fire Engineer. He later took over as pound master for Otto Bohn when he resigned in December.
July 20, 1940 Henry O Rockstroth became the first Calistoga Police Officer to die on duty. He had broken up a drunken brawl and his death was determined to be as a result. A Coroners Jury found death was brought on by excitement and exertion, which resulted in coronary thrombosis. He was born in Bloomington, Oregon on 6-5-1888 and was 52 years old.
In May of 1941 Carl Pierce resigned and Clarence P Ruland was appointed to the Position of Night Officer at $ 90.00 a month. Ruland and Chief Light were also appointed Assistant Fire Engineers and their compensation was included in their Police Salary. Chief Light, James Anderson and Clarence Ruland told the City Council that they would arrange a schedule between themselves, to work 8 hour shifts and provide 24 hours police protection for Calistoga. This started in June of 1941 and new salaries were declared; Chief Light $ 75.00 a month, plus $ 25.00 a month for his car and an additional 10% of business licenses collected. Officer Ruland was paid $ 100. a month and James Anderson received $ 100 a month, plus $ 10.00 a month as fire engineer, and got living quarters in the second story of City Hall.
In February of 1942 Chief Light reported that James Anderson had not reported for duty in the last 3 days and no one knew where he was. His position was declared vacant and Clarence Thom was appointed to the midnight to 8AM shift. Leland Roberts was appointed Police Officer in March and Chief Light advised the Council that Police Officers did not need to be Fire Engineers any longer. A Ted Cooley was appointed Police Officer and Clarence Thom took the position as relief Officer. In July each officer was granted 2 days off a month, and Harry Solomon was appointed a relief Officer at $ 4.00 a shift. In November Ted Cooley resigned and the city purchased a 1931 Nash Ambulance. In Dec S.H. Abel was appointed a relief Officer at $.60 per hour.
In June of 1943 Frank W Byrne was appointed Police Officer to replace Leland Roberts. Bryne resigned 2 months later and Otto Bohn became a Police Officer, transferring from the Public Works Department. In September Abel resigned and Roberts came back as a relief Officer.
On February 2, 1945 the city installed a phone booth at the intersection of Lincoln Ave., and Washington St. The phone booth contained a Police Phone and a Fire Phone. When the police phone rang, a blue light over the intersection came on, and when the fire phone rang a red light came on. A Police Officer on duty would see the light and answer the call. The city also moved to purchase the old "Electric Depot" as a future site for a City Hall. The purchase price was $ 6,500. In August Officer Wade was appointed. In October CC Simic purchased the ambulance from the city, and started Morrison Ambulance. In December the city purchased the first Police Car, a 1946 Ford, Super De Lux for $ 1,274.26.
In January of 1946 the Duncan Meter Company proposed the installation of 120 parking meters on Lincoln Ave., and Washington St. The City entered into a contract and the meters were installed. Chief Ed Light asked to be relieved of his duties as of 1-31-46. and Ken Hivley from St. Helena, was appointed to the position of Chief of Police at $ 225. a month. J.D. Hathaway and A.V. Lindhome were paid relief Officers that year. By the end of 1946, City Hall had been re-modeled. The first floor was occupied by the Police Dept and the Napa County Sheriff's Dept, who had a sub-station up valley.
In 1947 relief Officers included Scott Kline and Ross Reeder. J.D. Hathaway was appointed Police Officer in Sept. In Nov. Sherman Wyckoff was appointed Police Officer. Records reflected Hivley as Chief, Hathaway and Wyckoff Police Officers and Kline as relief Officer. In December Chief Hivley contracted with De Long Searching Services to obtain ownership information on vehicles.
In January of 1948 Ross Reeder resigned as the City Fire Marshall and his duties were given to Chief Hivley. On March 3, Chief Hivley asked that a flashing red light be installed at Lincoln and Foothill. In July, the 1946 police unit was replaced with a 1949 Ford Custom purchased from Howard's Motor Sales at a cost of $ 1,854. In August Wyckoff resigned and Murray Joseph was appointed to replace him.
In May 1949, Judge Winkelman resigned as Judge of the City Court. He was replaced by David York who had been the City Attorney. He was paid $ 75.00 a month. A month later York resigned and Ed Light was appointed as the Judge, assistant to the city clerk, and as assistant Fire Chief. In August Officer Hathaway resigned and Al Lindhome was appointed Police Officer.
In March of 1950 the city purchased a 1950 Ford Police Car from Howard's Motor Sales for $ 2,000, to replace the 1949 unit. The city also authorized $ 200 for a police transmitting radio. In July Lindhome requested to work as a relief Officer only and William Mingus was appointed Police Officer. He worked three months and resigned, to be replaced by Lewis Thomas, who later became a long time Postmaster for Calistoga. Thomas resigned 4 months later.
In May 1951 Chief Hivley asked the council to send an Officer to an FBI school in Napa for 4 days. This was the first time an Officer had received formal training. In June, a dial telephone system was installed in Calistoga. Chief Hivley reported problems with the emergency phone and asked for a 2-way radio to Napa Sheriffs Dept. In December Chief Hivley took some parking meters to Los Angeles to be repaired. He was reimbursed $ 28.00 for mileage.
In March of 1952 Frank Strebel was appointed as a relief officer to work other officers days off. He was paid $ 1.15 per hour. After a May election, Hivley was appointed Chief, Murray Joseph and David Dunham Police Officers and Frank Strebel relief Officer. A fire phone and a police phone were installed at the home of Chief Hivley so there would be no delays in answering them at night. In October, James N Autry was appointed as a Regular Relief Officer. Autry later became a Chief of Police. In December the City and County Courts were combined. Ed Light continued as Assistant Fire Chief and assistant to the city clerk.
January of 1953, William Stone was the Judge of the Justice Court. The City also purchased a 1953 Ford police car from Birleffi Motors. Ed Switzer was appointed a relief Officer and in February Officer Owens who had only worked a month, resigned as Police Officer. In March Hivley resigned as Fire Marshall, giving those duties to Ed Light. Kenneth Erwin was appointed as Police Officer to replace Owens, then a month later Charley Wood was appointed as a Police Officer. In April Officer Joseph went before the City Council and resigned, saying Hivley relieved him of his duties. Hivley told the council that he just gave Murray 2 weeks vacation. A motion was made to reject the resignation and to terminate Hivley. The motion died, and the resignation of Murray was accepted. There was then discussion to hire a Meade as Police Officer. Hivley reported that Meade had a pardon from Oregon for a criminal conviction there. Meade was never hired. In May Murray Joseph asked to be reinstated. The council tabled the matter. Walter Nichols and Delbert Yarbough were hired to fill vacancies. Yarbrough worked only a month. In June, Chief Hivley got the council to purchase shoulder patches for the uniforms. These are the same patches used today. In July George Hooper was appointed as a Police Officer and Walter Nichols resigned in September. In October Ervin Battelle was hired as a Police Officer and Hivley pushed to establish a pistol range at Kimball and a 5 day work week. No Action was taken by the City Council.
In February 1954 the American Legion moved out of the second story of City Hall and the space was rented to the Justice Court. In March, Chief Hivley again asked for a pistol range and was given $ 25.00 to start one. Virgil Harper was also appointed as a Police Officer that month. In August the city purchased a 1954 Ford 6 cyl, "Mainline" from Birleffi Motors and the Calistoga Lions Club donated identifying signs for the doors.
The department wishes to thank past Chief James Anderson for much of this information