Department History

From 1819 until 1871, the one law enforcement officer in the Borough was called a constable and he is still called a constable in Shippensburg Township.
After 1871, he was called a policeman. After 1920. the one policeman had a temporary assistant for special and emergency occasions and the regular policeman was then titled •"Chief."
On Dec. 15, 1932, while Chief Edmund J. Hunter was policeman, a second full-time officer. Albert G. Bitting, was added to the force and about a year later, a third officer, William Brennan.
Civil Defense work in World War II created an auxiliary police body. The two fire companies also designated and trained fire police. After WWII, these auxiliary units were loosely knit but in the 1960's they became a single, well trained, fully uniformed group of officers who now supplement the regular force over Friday evening rush hours, holidays, emergencies, etc.
Taken from “The Shippensburg Story 1730 – 1970” William H. Burkhart Author
When the first people came to Shippensburg, they barded together to protect themselves and their property. As more came, they needed laws and courts. The sheriff was a county officer who had to enforce the laws all over the county. He could use deputies when he needed them.
The Pennsylvania Legislature declared Shippensburg on January 21, 1819. The first election for officers of the town was held in April 1818. These officers were the Chief Burgess, an assistant Burgess, a town council, and a town clerk. These officers met in the home of the chief burgess. Captain Joseph McKinney was the first burgess and Mr. Jacob Keyner was the first constable (police). Later a treasurer, street commissioner, and a tax assessor were appointed. In 1882, the borough was divided into wards for voting. In 1960, Shippensburg went from Burgess and Council Plan to the Borough Manager Plan. Mr. Walter K. Smith was the first Borough Manager. In 1962, the Burgess was changed to Mayor and Dr. Harry L. Kriner became the first Mayor. The town council and burgess were responsible for law and order, the police, taxes, utilities, safety and health of the community.
The town council first met in the homes of the members. Then a special building called the Council House was built about 1843 on King St. and Prince St. A little brick jail stood behind it with its door on Prince Street. Those buildings were torn down and a larger brick building was built at the same place and called the Municipal Building. This building was built in 1928. In 1968, a new Municipal Building was built of brick on West Burd Street (now the Shippensburg Police Department).
The following information has been compiled for the Shippensburg Police Department and Shippensburg Historical Society during the fall of 2006. Three graduate students at Shippensburg University created this compilation of sources. The purpose of this work is to aide future researchers of Shippensburg Police history. Much of the research was done through the use of newspaper, Shippensburg Borough Council Minutes, and other sources available to the current Chief of Police, Chief Fred Scott.
David J. Drumheller, 
Marijon Shearer, 
Jennifer Frey 
Graduate Student 
Shippensburg University