The facts surrounding the history of the Wellesley Police have been gleaned in part from three bound books that appear to have been established during the very first days of the department. Book One begins with a page entitled "Department Record." It's first line, apparently in the handwriting of the first Chief of Police reads, "Police Department organized- April, 1893." The books chronicle the department's early years, and remain, in their original form, in the Office of Chief of Police.
The department's first police officer was Harry M. Kingsbury. He was appointed a patrolman on November 4, 1893 and Chief of Police on July 16, 1895.. The first police station was established June 10, 1903. the original police station was part of the old fire headquarters on Route 9.
Chief Kingsbury retired from the Wellesley Police Department on March 15, 1928.
Chief William Flemming was appointed to take his place.
In 1929, a new fire station was opened on Central Street and the police station
was moved into the old fire station on Church Street. It remained there until 1950, when the new police station opened at 485 Washington Street where the department is currently located.
From 1941 through the mid 1990's, the Wellesley Police Department provided all Emergency Medical Services and operated the town's ambulance. In the 1950's, an officer at the station would drive the ambulance to the scene, and meet a cruiser or a walking officer. At night, the desk officer would activate a horn and light in the hose tower of the police station, and the Square walking officer would return to the station and drive the ambulance to the scene. Wellesley's first ambulance was a 1941 Cadillac, which served until the middle of the 1950's.
Today, Emergency Medical Services are provided by AMR, who staff a paramedic level ambulance in the town 24 hours a day. Wellesley Police Officers, many of whom are Massachusetts Emergency Medical Technicians, respond to all medical calls in the town, and carry Automatic External Defibrillator's as well as other medical supplies.
Prior to the Wellesley Police Station being built at 485 Washington Street, the Town Hall was used to as a "lockup" for prisoners in the basement. You can still see where the old cells were at the Town Hall. The Chief of Police was designated as the "Keeper of the Lockup" each year as one of the duties. Today, the Board of Selectmen still appoint the Chief of Police as "Keeper of the Lockup" on an annual basis.
Prisoners at the Town Hall were checked on by the officer assigned to a walking beat in Wellesley Square on an hourly basis. There was a police call box outside the basement door at the rear, which the officer would ring during each cell check.
Today, Wellesley Police Public Safety Dispatchers check on prisoners every 15 minutes, using an electronic system in place throughout the Central Booking and Intake Facility (CBIF). CBIF processes all arrests made by the Wellesley Police, Babson College, Wellesley College, and on occasion, from the Massachusetts State Police. CBIF is staffed with Wellesley Police Officers.
On November 4, 1933, Officer Thomas E. Shea was patrolling Wellesley by motorcycle. As he chased a vehicle towards Natick on Central Street, it is alleged that second vehicle pulled out of Pond Road and struck Officer Shea. Officer Shea was transported to Newton Wellesley Hospital with serious injuries. Officer Shea returned to the department, but was assigned to desk duties. For 6 years, he required periodic treatment due to his injuries. In 1939, his condition worsened, and in February of 1940 he was hospitalized for an infection and internal hemorrhaging. On March 14, 1940 Officer Shea died of his injuries that he sustained in the 1933 crash. Officer Shea was the first Wellesley Police Officer killed in the line of duty.
On January 1, 1947 Officer Robert P. Macbey was appointed as Wellesley's third Chief of Police. Chief Macbey's son, Robert, would also serve the department as a police officer.
On September 28, 1950 the Wellesley Police Department moved from Church Street to a small building at 485 Washington Street.
On October 10, 1973 Chief Leroy Weaver was appointed as Wellesley's fourth Chief of Police. His son, Richard, was appointed a police officer and still serves today as the department's court prosecutor in Dedham District Court.
On November 2, 1978, while directing traffic at the intersection of William Street and Worcester Street, Officer Joseph Fitzsimmons was struck by a motor vehicle traveling westbound on Worcester Street. He sustained multiple injuries including severe brain damage. Officer Fitzsimmons survived for 14 years until he passed away on April 10, 1992 as a result of the injuries sustained on duty. He was the second Wellesley Police Officer to die in the line of duty.
On April 4, 1986 Chief John K. Fritts was appointed Wellesley's fifth Chief of Police. His son, Christopher, also serves as a police officer and Field Training Officer.
During this time period, the department switched from their archaic low band radio system to a modern UHF radio system. Every officer was issued a portable radio, a practice which greatly enhances officer safety. In addition, the department joined the Boston Area Police Emergency Radio Network (BAPERN), a radio system which allowed Wellesley to communicate with every other police agency in Eastern Massachusetts. Years ahead of it's time, the BAPERN radio system is a model of interoperability, before the concept was well known. The BAPERN system continues today.
The Wellesley Police Department also received it's first computer system, and switched from handwritten reports to computer reports. Civilian dispatchers were also hired, replacing police officers who had traditionally worked the dispatch/desk area. The 911 system was also added, and became the telephone number to call in an emergency. This replaced the traditional 235-1212 line, which became the business line.
Advanced Life Support (ALS) became available to the Wellesley Police Department from the Leonard Morse Hospital Paramedics. This non transporting ALS unit would respond with the Wellesley Police Department's ambulance to medical calls within the town. Paramedics would then board the Wellesley Police Department's ambulance to assist the Wellesley Police EMT's with treatment.
On January 1, 1992 Thomas O'Loughlin was appointed as Wellesley's sixth Chief of Police. Chief O'Loughlin would be the first Chief to be appointed from outside the department, having never worked in Wellesley. Chief O'Loughlin would also be the first non civil service Chief of Police.
The rank of Deputy Chief of Police, also non civil-service, would also be created. Sergeant Ernest 'Joe' Gagnon was appointed as the first Deputy Chief of Police of the Wellesley Police Department.
In the early morning hours of Sunday, March 12 1995, Officer Stewart E. Savage was involved in a motor vehicle crash on Wellesley Avenue by the intersection of Swarthmore Road. Due to icy conditions on the roadway, Officer Savage's police cruiser, 1409, skidded off the road and struck a telephone pole. Officer Savage was flown by MedFlight from the scene to the hospital. On Saturday, March 18, 1995, Officer Savage died as a result of his injuries sustained in the crash.
As a tribute to Officer Savage, Cruiser 1409 was retired from service. The unit number will never be issued to another Wellesley Police Cruiser again. 1409 appears on the 1/43 scale Wellesley Police model cars as well. The department also sponsors an annual Savage Memorial 5K Road race on the first Sunday of May each year. The department's gym is also dedicated to Officer Savage and bears his name.
The Wellesley Police Department discontinued the ambulance service, and the town began contracting with Chaulk Ambulance Service. Initially, Chaulk used the Wellesley Police Department's ambulance. American Medical Response (AMR) now provides ALS care to the town. Wellesley Police Officers respond on every medical call within the town.
During 1995 and 1996, the department moved to a temporary station at Route 9 and Route 128, using the vacant Mass Highway building while a new police station was constructed at 485 Washington Street. In October of 1996, the department moved back to 485 Washington Street, where we are located today.
On December 23, 1997 Deputy Chief Gagnon was appointed as the department's 7th Chief of Police. Lieutenant Terrence M. Cunningham was appointed as the Deputy Chief of Police.
The department began full time dispatching of the Wellesley Fire Department during this time as well, and a major renovation to the communication and dispatch center was undertaken. The department also switched the colors of the police cruiser to the current blue and white scheme.
On November 15, 1999 Deputy Chief Terrence M. Cunningham was appointed as Wellesley's eighth Chief of Police. William G. Brooks III was appointed as the third Deputy Chief of Police. Deputy Chief Brooks had previously worked for the Norwood Police Department.
In May of 2005, the Wellesley Police Department dedicated a Police Memorial outside of the station. This memorial has the names of the three Wellesley Officers that have been killed in the line of duty. The memorial depicts two children looking at a Wellesley Police Officer. The statute is accurate with all details of a Wellesley Police Officer's uniform, equipment, and belt. Officer James Amalfi is the model for the statute.
Also unveiled was the Wellesley Police Department's Wall of Honor, inside the Kingsbury Training Room. This wall depicts the names and service dates for career Wellesley Police Officers. The last addition to the wall was Officer Janice Guild, Officer Rick Potter, and Officer Rick Weaver, all of whom retired in 2012.