In 1946, the City of Galt was incorporated and organized its own police department. The first officers were constables, Rollo Brewster was the very first constable. The first police chiefs doubled as full-time staff and augmented staffing needs by hiring part-time officers. The force eventually grew to six officers in 1973, eight officers in 1978, ten officers in 1982, and twenty-two officers in 2001. Today there are about 40 personnel working at the Galt Police Department.
The location of the department has moved as the town has grown. One of the oldest locations, which still stands today, was known as the Lee Township Justice Court Office on 5th and “B” Street across from the Fire Station. That location actually housed a small jail. For a while, the Police Department was located at 807 “C” Street. This location included city offices along with a library, and the police occupied one small office with only 150 square feet. Prisoners were temporarily handcuffed to three steel rings on the wall in a small conference room before being transferred to county jail.
In July 1978, the new City Hall was completed and all city offices along with the county run library moved to 380 Civic Drive. With a total of eight police officers, the new accommodations for the police seemed so large it would last for years to come. However, as the department grew, the police department spread out in the existing facility.
Come the spring of 2001, the City began contruction on a new police facility located at 455 Industrial Drive. The main building of this facility is 22,000 square feet with a 3,000 square foot service building. The new Police Facility was completed in May, 2003.
Very little is known about Galt’s first Police Chief Athos Loll. City Council Meeting Minutes (12-30-46) indicate that after three months, a committee of one person was appointed to ask for Chief Loll’s resignation. The same notation is found in the minutes of the January 6, 1947, meeting along with the fact they were accepting applications for the position of Chief of Police. Apparently, the City Council was unhappy Chief Loll would not take action on illegal slot machines in two local bars. On November 25, 1947, a committee was formed by the City Council to ask Tom Skinner to be the Chief of Police. However, Mr. Skinner was not appointed to the position.
On December 3, 1947, Edgar Charles McCarthy was appointed by the City Council to the position of Chief of Police. At the January 14, 1948, City Council Meeting, Mayor Glenn McFarland and Councilman Larry Littleton exchanged words about Chief McCarthy. Chief McCarthy began: "he had heard some complaints on his methods of enforcing the law; he also stated he would resign before he would allow the law to be broken in his presence and not be able to do anything about it."
Mayor Glenn McFarland criticized the Chief of Police for not taking the City Council into his confidence before conducting a raid on the slot machines in the City. Councilman Larry Littleton took exception to the Mayor’s comments and stated: "there is nothing in the law that states the Chief must consult the City Council." He continued, "the Chief of Police should be complimented on his work instead of being criticized by the Mayor." Mayor McFarland, obviously on a roll, continued and criticized the City Clerk "for being overly ambitious in regards to City affairs" and told him to "stick to his books in the future."
During this same City Council meeting, Chief McCarthy was authorized to appoint Thomas Skinner as his assistant and when working, Mr. Skinner was paid $2.00 an hour. On October 5, 1948, Chief McCarthy resigned his position.
On October 16, 1948, Walter E. Froehlich (pronounced Frolick) was appointed to replace McCarthy. Chief Froehlich served for the next thirty years. During his employment, Chief Froehlich also served as the City’s public works director. After six months of using his personal car for patrol and being reimbursed, first $30 and later $50 a month, the City authorized Chief Froehlich to purchase the City’s first police car from Galt Motors at a cost of $1,677.21. The following year, Chief Froehlich was responsible for the installation of the City’s first police radio system.
During the early years of Chief Froehlich’s career, his wife, Merle, would take telephone calls at their home and then relay the information to the Chief. In the spring of 1978, Chief Froehlich retired.
In the spring of 1978, a Pacific Grove Police Lieutenant, Robert S. Fuller, was appointed as the City’s new Police Chief. Chief Fuller coordinated the final plans for a new City Hall that would also serve as the new police station. Chief Fuller’s primary focus during his tenure was training. Chief Fuller was responsible for the City’s first police canine program.
A Galt High School graduate, Willie W. Weatherford, started his career with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office then moved to the City of Manteca Police Department where he rose to the rank of Captain. Chief Weatherford was appointed as Galt's top law enforcement officer in the fall of 1983. During Chief Weatherford’s career with Galt, he coordinated a very popular police K-9 trial that continued for more than a decade. After a few months as the Chief of Police, the Galt City Council appointed him as their new City Manager. For two years, Weatherford headed the City with an Interim Police Chief. At the end of two years, Weatherford exercised his previously agreed upon option to return to his position as Police Chief. The City Council reluctantly agreed and Chief Weatherford returned and served until the summer of 1987, when he returned to the Manteca Police Department as their new Police Chief. He is currently retired from law enforcement.
A 1973, Galt High graduate, Douglas M. Matthews, was hired by Chief Froehlich as a part-time dispatcher the day after he turned eighteen. After seven months, he was hired to fill a vacancy as a full-time graveyard dispatcher at the rate of $474 a month. In June of 1975, he was hired to fill one of two vacancies as a police officer at the rate of $650 a month.
In August of 1987, he was appointed as the Chief of Police. For the next three years, he continued as the State of California’s youngest Police Chief. During his career with the department, Chief Matthews has held the ranks of sergeant and lieutenant. He was also appointed twice to serve as the interim police chief. While Chief of Police, Matthews implemented many new programs such as Neighborhood Watch, Community Service Officer Program, the senior volunteer program (CAPS), Special Team Enforcement Program (STEP), traffic program, etc. Chief Matthews completed his career with the Galt Police Department after 31 years of service when retiring in October 2006.
We are very proud of our history and the community we serve. Since 1946, we have never lost an officer in the line of duty.