Crescent City Police Chief William Burke began a weekly series in the Triplicate called "History of Modern Police." His first article, in the Oct. 10, 1957 issue of the Triplicate, traced the history of police from England in the ninth century. Each village group constructed groups of 10 men who then met together with a head man called the Shire Reeve, or as we now say, the Sheriff. The main purpose of the groups was to settle disputes, punish offenders, and collect taxes.
In a later column, Chief Burke tells of the changes after 1066 and the crowning of William the Conqueror who used the earlier governing rules and improved on them to include central authorities and a balanced government. The sheriff then became the power to call for court to be held. That is why we have the jails and the superior courts in county seats.
In 1215, the Magna Carta provided for a jury of peers. In 1812, the Chief Secretary of Ireland, Robert Peel, established a police force that served as a model for the London Police Force in 1829. The American colonists brought the system of jurisprudence and policing with them.
The first daytime police force was in Boston in 1838. Uniforms started in 1855 and were decorated with copper buttons, hence the name "coppers" for policemen. Many changes have come about since the beginnings of police work that now encompass technological aides.
Joe Hamilton School was dedicated in October 1957, and along with it was the completion of the Volunteer Fire Department at Fifth and I Streets. Ed Desjardin, contractor, announced that they could move into the building by the first of the year. The Del Norte Church of Christ at Del Norte and Childs Streets was taking shape with all the work done by volunteers. The Hiatt Machine Works building at Washington Boulevard and Northcrest Drive was under construction. The 6,000 feet of floor space was used to serve fishing boats, lumber mills, and logging operations.
The Brother Jonathan Cemetery on Pebble Beach Drive was given a clean up after complaints from tourists who wanted to view the stones and could not because of the weeds. The Los Gator Car Club made it their major project for the year. They removed litter, underbrush, and overhanging trees. They went on to setup and repair the grave markers.
Two burglaries made the news. The first was Case Sporting Goods on Third Street where rifles and shotguns were taken. The other burglary was to Ralph's Jewelry on Second Street where over $3,000 worth of rings and watches were taken from the window display. Both burglaries had similar entries, that of bodily force. No tools were used. Mona Graham was opening the Horseshoe Caf across the street and noticed the door to the jewelry store was open. She called the police. Earlier in the week a report of two small boys shoplifting Ronson cigarette lighters was called in.
Sharon McKinney is a Del Norte Historical Society volunteer.