Captain/Chief Richmond
by Pete Zizka

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Mayor Oscar O. Tanner’s 1899 city report noted that Willimantic had,” an entire absence of disorder and crime”. Tanner also boasted that the Willimantic police force had an enviable reputation for "discipline, faithfulness and efficiency." The force was now led by Captain Edgar Richmond. A very competent man, he was the source of many a newspaper story due to his adventures in apprehending Willimantic rowdies. When the office of captain was annulled by the State legislature in 1911 and the title "Chief" instituted, his appointment as chief was confirmed by unanimous vote of the City Council and he became Willimantic's first Chief of Police. He was a “hands on” chief and newspaper articles constantly spoke of his exploits such as his stopping of runaway horses on Main Street. The horses were,”going at a good clip when Richmond ran out into the road and caught the bit of one horse. After being pulled around considerable, he stopped the horses before any damage could be done”. It was a 1914 story, however, that gave good insight into the type of man that Chief Richmond was. Almost half of the arrests made in the City were for drunkenness. The story said Chief Richmond, “has seen the sorrow, humiliation and hardships coupled with arrests and police court procedure...Realizing that a man is at times weak and falls, yet he is not bad, he has been conducting an experiment...”. If an offender had never been arrested before and was charged only with drunkenness, the chief would take a man from his cell and “have a heart to heart talk with him”. The chief would ask the man if he would be happier to follow the strainght path and if he would be a little more discreet in his actions. The prisoners, appreciating this opportunity, were then told to go home and try to do better. The article mentioned that Chief Richmond had released one hundred prisoners in a twelve month period and only eight had ended up being re-arrested. In 1917, having served the department for twenty-four years, Chief Richmond retired and went to work as ATCO’s head of employment. This week’s photo shows Chief Richmond (front, left) standing with Lieutenant “Big Dan” Killourey (front, right) and patrolmen John Manley, Carl Enander, Allan McArthur, Louis Paulhus, Thomas Grady, P.J. Hurley, E.P. Weeks, Edward Leahy, Joseph Cartier and Henry Chamberlin. For questions or comments about this  week’s photo or article, please e-mail us at “”.




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