Prior to Oklahoma statehood in 1907, Federal Marshals out of Guthrie, a City Marshal, and a night watchmen provided protection for Stillwater citizens. It was not until the late 1920’s that plans were put in place for Stillwater’s first police department.
The first Chief of Police, M.J. Ketch, was hired to supervise the new agency in 1929. The first police department facility was a small structure located in the community’s downtown business district. The building housed two small jail cells.
By 1936, Stillwater’s population had grown to about 7,000. The City employed two watchmen, one for day and one for night, with salaries of approximately $115.00 each month. The officers carried a revolver and two nightsticks. This was before radio communications were available. When someone called the police station for assistance, the dispatcher would activate a red light which was located and visible in the downtown area. The on-duty officer would then respond to a telephone and call the station to receive the necessary information.
In 1939, the police department was combined with other municipal offices and moved into one building in the 700 block of South Lewis, this is same block where it remains today.
In 1941, Stillwater became the 9th police department in Oklahoma to obtain a 2-way radio communications system. Due to community expansion, Stillwater had also expanded to utilizing two police cruisers for routine patrol.
In 1972, Stillwater was one of the first agencies in the state to install and utilize the new concept of a “911” emergency telephone system.
Through the following years, the City of Stillwater expanded and the Stillwater Police Department continued to grow to keep up with the demands of the community. In 1976, the City constructed new police wing onto the City Government building which would house the agency for the next 25 years.
By the late 1990’s the agency had grown to nearly 120 employees which required far more space than was available. In 2001, the citizens of Stillwater authorized the construction of the new state of the art police facility where the agency is currently housed. This facility contains a fitness center, underground parking, an advanced communications center, and training facilities which are utilized by law enforcement agencies from throughout the State of Oklahoma.From the early beginnings, when a single night watchmen walked the beat on foot patrol, to the dozens of Interceptor patrol cars of today, the Stillwater Police Department has continued to strive to provide professional police services to the citizens of Stillwater.