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Police: Who We Are

Raleigh Police Department

The origins of the Raleigh Police Department reach to the founding of the City of Raleigh in 1792.  The City Commissioners hired a City Constable, along with a City Watch that would assist the constable at night in warning against fires and taking law violators into custody.  This system continued in various forms until 1867. 

The Charter and Ordinance of the City of Raleigh of 1867 established the Raleigh Police Department.  The leadership of the department consisted of the Chief Constable and an Assistant Chief.  In 1869 Bryan Lunn, an African American, served as the Assistant Chief to Chief William Martin.  On October 24, 1912, the department purchased its first vehicle- a Knox Patrol Wagon.  The city continued to grow and added motorcycles in the early 1920s and more vehicles later.  On March 12, 1944 the department swore in its first four female police officers- vested with the same authority as their male counterparts.  The current uniform pattern dates to February 25, 1952 and our current badge on June 20, 1968. 

The department continued to grow and evolve with the needs of the city to include the formation of the Selective Enforcement Unit in 1974 and the K-9 Unit in 1983.  Today, the Raleigh Police Department has numerous specialty units- including SEU, K-9, Mounted Patrol, Motorcycle and Community Policing.  Officers have the opportunity to be promoted to Detective, and also supervisory positions within the command structure. 

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