A Brief History of the Griffith Police Department
This history of the Griffith Police Department is a "work-in-progress", and we apologize if we've missed a person who worked for the department. It is difficult identifying personnel who worked for the PD during the past 100 years. If you have a friend or family member who worked for the Griffith Police, please let us know by sending us an e-mail. And if you have any old photos of Griffith Police officers in their uniforms, working football games, standing next to their squad cars, etc., please let us know by emailing
The Griffith Police Department was first formed in 1904, with the appointment of the first Town Marshall, John Harkenrider. Town Marshall Harkenrider was appointed and served until 1908. Griffith had a one man police force until the appointment of a Deputy Marshall in 1945 and a third in 1946. Marshall Harkenrider served four terms between 1904 and 1931.
On January 3, 1956, with the approval of the Town of Griffith voters, the Griffith Police Department was reorganized. A Metropolitan Police Commission was established and three commissioners were appointed --- Jerry Heffernan (elected chairman), Josephine Currier (elected Secretary), and Haskell Hoke were appointed.
The new Police Commission appointed the last Town Marshall, William Kussmaul, as the new Chief of Police. Along with Chief Kussmaul, Texas O. Minter was appointed Sergeant, and Robert Herod and George Phillips were appointed 1st Class Patrolmen.
Tragedy struck the Griffith Police Department on December 20th, 1963 when Lt. Tex Minter was struck and killed by a train. His name has been placed on the Law Enforcement Memorial Wall in Washington D. C.
As mentioned, William Kussmaul was the first Chief of Police. Other Griffith Police Chiefs were John Burns, Robert Herod, James Reyome, and William Weddell. Karl Grimmer was appointed Chief of Police in 1993 and served in that position until his retirement in June, 2006. Griffith Police Lieutenant and Executive Officer Ron Kottka became the new Police Chief effective Monday, June 26, 2006 till November 2012 when Matt Moore became the Interim Police Chief. Matt Moore served as Interim Chief till February 19, 2013 when Greg Mance assumed the Chief postion.
In addition to the above personnel, many others have served. Included are:
John Mowery, Sr.
Kyle Van Alstine
With the establishment of the Griffith Police Commission and Police Department, an Auxiliary Police force was also formed. The group assisted the sworn officers on a voluntary basis until disbanding in 1962. The members of the Griffith Police Auxiliary included:
Vincent Lex, Jr.
Our best wishes to these Griffith Police Department retirees:
The Police Department has grown over the years and is currently responsible for various businesses and approximately 17,500 residents in a seven square mile area with about 60 miles of streets. The department is currently made up of twnty nine (32) sworn officers. In addition, our civilian employees include four full-time Radio Dispatchers, two Secretaries, an Office Manager/Systems Administrator and an Animal Warden. In the early 1990s, the Police Commission was expanded from three to five members.
Here is the current listing of the Griffith Safety Board and the Griffith Police Department:
Griffith Safety Board:
John Volkmann - Chairman
Gary Sutton - Vice-Chairman
Ro-Ann Purgert, Secretary
Chief of Police - Greg Mance
Operations Lieutenant - C. Burrow
|32 Sworn officers (includes Police Chief, 2 Commanders and one Lieutenant):
School Resource Officer:
D.A.R.E Officer and Social Services Liaison:
Animal Control Warden: