Cape police department at 150

Monday, April 6, 2009

Every day, the 75-member Cape Girardeau Police Department provides security and law enforcement for our community in ways that most of us never know about.

The police department offers ride-along programs that help familiarize residents with the work officers do while patrolling. One recent participant said his experience during a ride-along was quite an eye opener, providing insight both into the professionalism of the department and the variety of situations that each officer confronts in just one shift.

This month the department is marking the 150th anniversary of its founding. The ordinance creating the department was adopted in 1859 and authorized a force of a captain, a lieutenant and six officers. The officers were paid for many years on the basis of the arrests they made. The rate started at $1 for each arrest and grew until that pay plan was abolished in 1918.

So much has changed in the 150 years the police department has existed. Much of that change has been in training for officers to deal with a complex society and with modern weapons and instant communications.

While those who get pulled over for speeding or other driving infractions are probably in no mood to praise the police department, the fact is most of us appreciate the protection and the sense of security we have in Cape Girardeau. We can use the city's parks and trails without fear. We drive on city streets knowing that most motorists are likely to obey traffic regulations. We have a low crime rate, thanks to the work of the police department.

Thanks, Cape Girardeau Police Department, for all that you do for us. We appreciate it.

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