Police Department History
Cameron Police Department History
The Cameron Police Department has been serving the citizens of Cameron since the mid 1800s. The Cameron House, later called the Western House, was the first jail for the City. It was built in 1858. The jail cell was actually a hotel room. By the 1960s, the Police Department was in City Hall, moving from Third Street to Main.
The jail sat at the northeast corner of Second Street and Main before it was moved to the garage of City Hall. After hours, the power plant would take calls for the Department and would have the operator ring a bell located in the alley to notify an officer.
Before 1952, the Department had four officers that worked 12-hour shifts, but after 1952 they moved up to five officers working eight-hour shifts. Today the Department has grown with the City and has 17 full-time officers, four reserve officers, one court bailiff, eight communications officers, and one administrative assistant.
The first marshal, today known as police chief, was Henry C. Culver. He served as marshal from 1870 until his death in November 1879. His salary was $45 per quarter. Marshal Culver was shot and killed by the Kidder boys, Jerome Johnson, and Aaron Harpster in the alley behind where Clark's Convenience Store sits today. Marshal Culver tried to stop the men from leaving the horse stables without paying after stealing from the local hardware store. Some believe that his murder was revenge for his arrest of Harpster's brother months earlier. Culver was one of only two law men in the history of the Cameron Police Department to die in the line of duty. Today the public safety building is named for him.
The second officer to die in the line of duty was Marshal George Leonard. He served from April 3, 1891, to March 16, 1898. He was gunned down at the Cameron Depot after going to question two men suspected of several burglaries.
The Cameron Police Department has had many honorable men serve as police chief. Police Chief Norm Eader and Police Chief Defreece were both retired highway patrolmen. Police Chief Eader, with 40 years of service in law enforcement, also received the American Legion Law Enforcement Award in 1978.
Motorcycles and Other Department Vehicles
Cameron's first motorcycle officer was Harold Farmer back in 1921. Mr. Farmer used his own motorcycle to patrol the streets of Cameron and was paid $5 a day when he worked. In 1960, the Department got their second City police car, a Studebaker Lark. The Department bought a Honda motorcycle in 1981 for the officers. Today, the Police Department is equipped with ten patrol vehicles.
The Department Today
The Cameron Police Department is committed to providing a safe and quiet place for its citizens to call home. The officers that make up the Department are considered some of the best-trained and equipped officers in northwest Missouri. They strive to be fair, honest, and impartial in all their dealings. The officers of the Cameron Police Department look forward to serving this community in the years to come.
This information is courtesy of Mindy Waltemeyer.