History

In 1889, Washington became a State. The very next year, Olympia City Marshal George Savidge was the first in City history to be officially referred to as Chief of Police. In the years from 1889-1892, the Olympia Police Department was comprised of the chief, a captain and six patrolmen.

In the late 1890s, officers worked on what amounted to a "commission" basis. An officer was paid from $.80 - $1.00 a head for bringing scofflaws before the court. A portion of the fine collected from the offender by the court was paid to the officer as his wages.

In 1909, Olympia police were issued uniforms in the style seen in the photo of OPD officers in Centennial garb. In 1913, both the Thurston County Sheriff's Office and the Olympia Police Department were equipped with motorcycles, and by 1929, the Olympia Police Department had eight full-time, uniformed officers on patrol.

Today, the Olympia Police Department has a paid staff of 64 commissioned officers and 26 civilian corrections and support personnel, and police employees are no longer paid for "piece work." The Department also has a large contingent of citizen volunteers who engage in a wide range of activities that enhance the capacity of the entire community to resist and prevent crime. In Olympia, assuring public safety is very much a cooperative effort between citizens and their law enforcement professionals.

Since 1890, Olympia has had 22 chiefs of police:

  • 1890 George Savidge
  • 1892 B. F. Snyder
  • 1904 R. W. Faylor
  • 1906 Otto Braeger
  • 1907 Thomas O. "Ott" Coats
  • 1909 Edmund Rogers
  • 1911 Alex Wright
  • 1913 W. P. Vance
  • 1915 Benjamin Hall
  • 1919 Harry L. Cusack
  • 1921 James T. Endicott
  • 1923 James E. Kuntz
  • 1925 Carl H. Hanson
  • 1927 Charles Pilling
  • 1929 Frank A. Cushman
  • 1936 John M. Walker
  • 1943 Roy L. Kelly
  • 1963 W. Fred Derrick
  • 1973 Chester Breuer
  • 1980 John Wurner
  • 1997 Gary Michel
  • 2011 Ronnie Roberts