After completing 35 years of faithful service, Lt. Archie Carrigan was asked by The Sumter Item to talk about a few of his recollections of the police department for the local citizenry.
"I have been asked to make a brief sketch of the history of …
This item is available in full to subscribers
Click here to log in
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
If you aren't yet a subscriber,
click here to start a new subscription.
You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of website access, for just 99 cents. *
Click here to continue.
* Full access is available from time of purchase through 11:59pm the following day
"I have been asked to make a brief sketch of the history of the Sumter Police Department and other matters concerning the growth of our city during my long employment with the Sumter Police Department. As time passes, our recollection of the order of events grows dim, and my memory in this respect will probably in some instances be inaccurate.
"I joined the police force in 1915 under Chief Sumter. At the time, the Sumter Police Force consisted of the chief and five policemen; I made the sixth. The patrol of the town was divided into shifts of 12 hours each with three policemen on each shift. Of course, there were no automobiles; we answered calls on bicycles. When an arrest was made, we had to walk the prisoner to jail, which was located as it is now at the rear of the old Opera House.
"It is my recollection that about that time I joined the police force, the pavers were being laid on Main and Liberty Streets, which, prior to that time, were sand and rock. There were possibly half a dozen automobiles in town at that time. Dr. Mood drove one, and, I believe, I. C. Strauss also drove one. My recollection is that one of these first automobiles was a White, which Mr. Harper owned even at the time of his recent death. Just prior to his death, this automobile was still running about the streets of Sumter every day.
"The only hotel in town was the Jervey Hotel located on the southeastern corner of Liberty and Sumter streets. It was operated by Sam Jervey, who would come out on the street at 12 o'clock every day and ring a big bell to announce that dinner was ready. Our Fire Department consisted of two trucks drawn by two horses for each truck; the personnel included volunteer firemen. I believe J. Wilder was chief at that time.
"The only school building I recollect at that time was Washington Street School on the northwestern corner of Washington and Liberty streets. Dr. S. H. Edmunds was the superintendent. The only manufacturing plants were a telephone company and the Witherspoon Coffin Factory. There were no wood-working factories of any kind. The many grocery stores were operated by Messers. Levi, Stubbs, Chandler, Neill O'Donnell and Moses Green. The principal clothing store was Sumter Dry Goods. Main Street practically consisted of vacant lots from Delorme's Drug Store to the Post Office. Kress Store was built shortly after I joined the police force. The sidewalks were paved and swept by hand with brooms when necessary; traffic was handled on the corner of Main and Liberty Streets by a policeman who stood in the middle of the street under a parasol. There was a picture show in the building adjoining Harry Metropole's Candy Kitchen Main Street across from the Opera House. Of course, they were silent pictures, but a piano was near the screen, and someone would sing along with the picture. We supplied our own electricity via the old power plant which was in the building now owned by W. E. Brunson and Sons. The lights were off about as much as they were on. Everyone kept kerosene lamps handy at all times. The police used hand kerosene lanterns to patrol the back lots and test all doors.
"I worked first under Mayor L. B. Jennings and then under R. D. Epps, F. B. Creech, Edwin Boyle, J. A. Raffield and W. M. Bynum. I believe Lynn White was the first City Manager I recall, then followed W. T. Brown, Howard Stillwell from Atlanta, Bob McLeod, S. K. Rowland and finally J. A. Raffield. Chief Sumter of the police force was succeeded by J. O. Barwick, and then came A. D. Owens, W. C. Kirven and finally Chief W. M. Hall."
"The Sumter Police Department now consists of 27 men, including the chief, and is equipped with patrol cars and two-way radios. Its personnel consist of men trained in taking and reading finger prints, photography, and other methods of crime detection. We have several men who are graduates of the F. B. I. School. We also have a separate Detective Department, consisting of Captain Kirven and two assistants. All shifts are now of eight hours.
"The Sumter City Police Department is streamlined now. It has modern equipment and modern methods of detection. But police work is still pretty much the same, and a policeman's lot - in Sumter at least - is a happy one."
More Articles to Read