The Springfield Police Department is part of a long history of Law Enforcement in New England, dating back to the city's founding in 1636. The information on the SPD history sections explores some of the early years of "law and order" in the settlement as well as its development as a modern day law enforcement agency.
There's information on some of the early responsibilities of the Constable, the role of Marshalls, and the emergence of police officers as a profession. There are some informative historical books that even describe one of the first "traffic laws" and the consequences of violating it.
In Henry M. Burt's book, The First Century of the History of Springfield; The Official Records from 1636 to 1736, there is a description of the law and one of its first punishments for violating that law. Apparently, people were riding their horses too fast on the main streets. The problem was corrected, "...it is therefore ordered that if any person be observed to Run his horse or to ride faster than an ordinary gallop in ye streets of this town, except upon such urgent occasions as shall by ye Selectmen be judged unwarrantable so to do, he shall be liable to a fine of 3s 4d, to be paid, one shilling to the Informer & the rest to ye Town. This order not to extend to Troopers in times of their exercise." And, there you have it, the first traffic law for speeding.
There are photographs, articles, and movies covering various aspects of the SPD history. If you would like to contribute any information or media elements to the history pages, please contact the Webmaster.