History of the Department

The City of Jackson first formed its Police Department in 1873, which consisted of 8 officers, including the Chief of Police. The first Chief of the Jackson Police Department was Frank Standish, who served 2 years (1873 - 1875) and reported to the Mayor of the city. Each officer made $0.16 per hour, worked 10 hours per day, 7 days a week, making their job the most sought after in the city. The Chief of Police continued to report to the Mayor until a Police Commission was established in 1886, which was comprised of 3 members.

Police Station & Equipment

The department’s first police station was located on Michigan Avenue in the basement of the County Building, and had a lockup of 3 cells - 1 large and 2 small. Criminals would be fed bread and water while paying for their crimes with hard labor at the rock pile behind the building. On January 29, 1911, the Police Department purchased its first automobile patrol wagon from the Jackson Auto Company for $1,300, which, adjusted for inflation, is nearly $30,000 today!

Community Policing Partnership

The Police Department remained at the County Building until 1952, when a new (and still current) station was built at 216 East Washington Avenue. But, the biggest change to come to the Jackson Police Department was through the partnering with the Regional Community Policing Institute (RCPI) of Michigan State University in 1999. This spurred the movement to employ a community-policing philosophy, which took several committees hundreds of hours to plan.

Division in to PACT Areas

In 2002, the Police Department divided the city into 8 PACT areas, changing its focus to improving the quality of life for Jackson-area citizens by using a problem-solving method of fighting crime. In June of 2017, the current Director, Elmer J. Hitt, was appointed to oversee the sworn officers and civilian personnel that comprise the Jackson Police Department today.