Department History


Department History

Fort Wayne’s police force was first organized when Conrad Penn was appointed over a night watch of three men. They patrolled from sundown to dawn. At this time the population was 12,000. The Fort Wayne Daily Sentinel commended the Night Watch on December 12, 1863 when it stated, “Well done thou good and faithful servants for their fine work in the community.”

By 1869, there were eight officers and they worked from 6:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M. The uniform consisted of a dark blue double-breasted frock coat with two rows of gilt Police Buttons on the breast, a vest and pantaloons.

Agency Profile: The City

The City of Fort Wayne is located in northeast Indiana, and is the seat of Allen County government. The city is the second largest in the state and encompasses an area of about 109 square miles with a population of approximately 251,000 people.

The city’s current street mileage exceeds 741 and is expected to rise substantially upon completion of proposed annexations. Fort Wayne’s only interstate highways are I-69 and the I-469 bypass. In addition, four U.S. highways converge in the city. They are: U.S. 24, 27, 30, and 33. These highways provide routes to Detroit, Columbus, Indianapolis, and Chicago. For this reason, Fort Wayne has been a transportation hub for rail, trucking, and container transport throughout its history. The city’s airport was recently designated the Fort Wayne International Airport, with Customs Service and increased airfreight activity.

The City of Fort Wayne employs about 1,858 personnel and enjoys a Metropolitan Service Area labor force of well over 300,000.  Fort Wayne is governed by an elected mayor who appoints the Public Safety Director, the Chief of Police, and all other department heads.

Agency Profile: The Department

The Fort Wayne Police Department is a full-service, highly sophisticated professional agency. It has an authorized strength of 460 sworn officers. The major organizational components of the department are:

  • Patrol Uniform Operations consisting of four divisions:
    – Northeast
    – Northwest
    – Southeast
    – Southwest
  • Investigative Support Division
  • Information Services Division

Each division is commanded by a Deputy Chief (except Information Services, which is headed by a civilian Director). All Division heads report to the Assistant Chief of Police and the Chief of Police. The City of Fort Wayne and the Fort Wayne Police Department are committed to the combined philosophies of Community-Oriented Government (COG) and Community-Oriented Policing (COP). COP is a method of policing unique to Fort Wayne. Citizens are actively involved in making choices regarding the kind of services they want and have come to expect. This is accomplished in three major areas:

  • Neighborhood Associations that actively address individual concerns
  • Neighborhood Associations that bring issues to a larger representative body called an Area Partnership
  • A Community Services Council (CSC) that reviews and acts on Area Partnership concernsCurrently, individual citizens can present issues to one of over 200 organized neighborhood associations.