The Orchard Park Police Department’s origins date back to July 17, 1927, when its first full-fledged police officer was hired. William Martin was appointed as a patrolman, primarily for the duties of controlling traffic in the Village of Orchard Park. There had previously been appointed a stonemason, Arthur Michael, who controlled traffic at what is known today as “the Four Corners” — the intersection in the middle of the Village where East Quaker Street and West Quaker Street meet with North Buffalo Street and South Buffalo Street. Arthur Michael was tasked with looking after traffic on Saturdays and Sundays only, for a salary of 50 cents an hour, in 1926.
After a year, the three-person Village Board decided they would hire Mr. Martin as the first police officer so that he also had the ability to enforce laws that didn’t only pertain to traffic. A motorcycle was purchased for Officer Martin and a salary was agreed upon for $35 per week. By 1929 it was evident more help was needed, and a second officer, Mr. William Haag, was appointed. With Officer Haag now part of the force, Officer Martin was named the department’s first Chief. Martin remained Chief for the next forty years.
In 1930 the first “call box” was installed at the Four Corners, with another three installed later that year at Webster’s Corners, Duell’s Corners, and the intersection of Big Tree Road and Abbott Road. The total budget for the department in 1930 was $5,250. Then, in 1931, a Chevrolet Roadster was purchased, along with a radio receiver that was mounted in the car. The first radio was purchased from our local W.G. Arthur Company for the price of $100. The officer would be “dispatched” to the call box from the Buffalo Police Department, which would take emergency police calls. This was the practice for the next 40 years.
Until about 1945, the department ran with two officers, each of whom worked 12-hour shifts, 6 days a week, on a salary that did not include any overtime. As Officer Haag passed away in 1937, Russell Milks was appointed in his stead and became the third officer for the Orchard Park Police.
In 1949 the department located itself in the Orchard Park Municipal Building, which is where it is still located today. At this time the department consisted of five officers, each working six days a week, which is how it operated through the 1950’s.
Orchard Park became a “First Class Town” after the 1960 census, which acknowledged that the town consisted of more than 10,000 residents. Due to its size, it was determined that the town would assume management of the department, and we formally became the Town of Orchard Park Police Department, on February 13, 1962.