How it all began

In the year 1784, two Constables were elected at the District Meeting. One Constable was also a collector of ministerial taxes until 1821, when the collection of taxes was vested in the office of Treasurer.  In 1797 a Pound Keeper was elected “to build a Pound and Provide Stocks”.  The pound was built of stone, located on Woodward Avenue, opposite the Meetinghouse and the stocks were set up near the Meetinghouse with the accompanying whipping post.  A new Pound was built in 1833 on Carter Street across from the current Library and later, a small brick building was built in the Town Pound in 1877, to be used especially for the accommodation of tramps.  Isaac Holbrook, one of the last of the Pound Keepers, submitted a bill in 1900 of $69.00 for caring for 460 tramps.  Other jobs filled by police officers in past years were Dog Officer and Truancy Officer later changed to Attendance Officer.

The First Police Officer

A Police Officer, as distinct from the Constable, originated in 1880 when the Selectmen appointed one policeman “with all the powers of a Constable, except serving civil processes.”   Prior to1922 the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, served as Chief of Police, but also in the year of 1922 the Selectmen, following the requirement of the law, appointed a official Chief of Police.  This action by the Selectmen created the fertile soil to lay the new seeds for the town to have it’s first budding Police Department.

The Police Department is formed

The organization of a Police Department of Berlin occurred in 1934 under the direction of the newly appointed Chief Clyde Rogers. The officers of the department were entitled to join the Central Massachusetts Police Association, and take the twelve weeks schooling on police efficiency and interpretation of the law.  There was also a special course offered to Police Chiefs for the analysis of the new laws enacted by the General Court.  This specialized Police training was provided to train policemen to become qualified to perform more efficient service.

The First Modernization

In 1948 a two-way radio was installed in the police car for the convenience of the Chief.  In 1950 the Chief of Police possessed a new, fully equipped service car suitable for patrol and ambulance accommodations.  The Police Chief’s office was created in 1951 in the Town Hall of Berlin in the small former Welfare Office and was expanded in 1972 to the coat room in the front of the town hall, a space which had been partitioned off in 1904 to house the Public Library, increasing the Police Department to three rooms.

New Police Station

On June 15, 2000, the Police Department and Town Offices were moved from the Town Hall to the beautiful, newly renovated former Berlin Memorial School building at 23 Linden Street.   The Berlin Police Department now has a facility that serves as a jail as well as a Police Station with all of the latest security features.

 

Police Chiefs of the Berlin Police Department

Chief Thomas Galvin: 2013 – Present

      No Current Bio

Chief Otto Rhode, Jr: 2002-2013

      No Current Bio

Howard “Buster” Spaulding: 1992-2002

      Law Enforcement work has been a part of Howard “Buster” H. Spaulding’s family, going back many years. His Paternal grandfather Benjamin Spaulding became Berlin’s Police chief in 1949, and his Maternal Grandfather Clifford Wheeler became Berlin’s Chief of Police from 1951-1965. In those early years, the Police Chief was a part-time position. Howard’s uncle, Henry A. Wheeler, became Police Chief in 1965 after his father Clifford retired, and became Berlin’s first full-time Police Chief in 1967. Chief Spaulding’s father Benjamin Spaulding Jr. served as a police officer as well. His uncle Clifford Wheeler Jr. Was a Massachusetts State Trooper and his uncle Francis Burke also served as a Berlin Officer.
      A life long resident of Berlin, Chief Spaulding started his law enforcement career with the Town of Berlin in 1969 as a part time police officer. In 1970, Howard was appointed Berlin’s first full-time patrolman. Howard was promoted to Sergeant in 1973 and became Police Chief in 1992, retiring in April 2002 after 33 years of service. Chief Spaulding currently holds a special officer appointment for emergencies and special assignments. Howard also served his community as a member of the Fire Department, Ambulance Squad, Cemetery Commission, and is an elected Constable and Town Assessor.
      Howard is the husband of Kathleen Spaulding and the father of two sons, Jeffrey and Edward. His son Jeffrey is a state correction officer and part time police officer in Berlin. His Son Edward is employed with the city of Marlboro Water Department and a member of the Berlin Fire Department.
      Major changes in the department during Chief Spaulding’s tenure has been the computerization of the Police Department, enhanced 911 services, and the construction a a Police Station/Public Safety Building.

Henry H. Wheeler: 1965-1992

      Born July 5th, 1929 into a family richly entrenched in Law Enforcement, Henry A. Wheeler Sr., followed in his father Clifford’s footsteps as a local officer in Berlin, while his brother Clifford Herbert became a Massachusetts State Police Trooper.
      When he started as a Patrolman in 1952, the small town of Berlin’s Police Department was an all-volunteer, part-time force. He was appointed Sergeant in 1964 and upon his Dad’s Retirement, April 30, 1965 he became Chief. The town bought its first cruiser in 1967, and at the same time, Henry was appointed the first full-time Chief in the history of Berlin. He was able to hire his first patrolman in 1970 and added another in 1971 and yet a third in 1984.
      Through the years, in addition to the Police force, he was a volunteer Fireman, on the Rescue Squad, a certified EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). Just prior to becoming Chief, he was a Selectman for five years. He was also on the Municipal Building Commission, a Deputy Tax Collector and the Constable.
      While serving as Chief, he returned to school and holds an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. His greatest sense of accomplishment is to have past “offenders” come back years later to tell him how he influenced their lives and helped them to straighten out.
      After 40 years of service, 27 as Chief, he and his wife Ruth are now retired, and living on their 22 acre farm (the same fare he was raised on), raising beef cows. They travel for pleasure and he also fishes and hunts for fun. With six grown children and ten grandchildren, he stays very busy.

Clifford H. Wheeler: 1951-1965

      Born July 5th, 1929 into a family richly entrenched in Law Enforcement, Henry A. Wheeler Sr., followed in his father Clifford’s footsteps as a local officer in Berlin, while his brother Clifford Herbert became a Massachusetts State Police Trooper.
      When he started as a Patrolman in 1952, the small town of Berlin’s Police Department was an all-volunteer, part-time force. He was appointed Sergeant in 1964 and upon his Dad’s Retirement, April 30, 1965 he became Chief. The town bought its first cruiser in 1967, and at the same time, Henry was appointed the first full-time Chief in the history of Berlin. He was able to hire his first patrolman in 1970 and added another in 1971 and yet a third in 1984.
      Through the years, in addition to the Police force, he was a volunteer Fireman, on the Rescue Squad, a certified EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). Just prior to becoming Chief, he was a Selectman for five years. He was also on the Municipal Building Commission, a Deputy Tax Collector and the Constable.
      While serving as Chief, he returned to school and holds an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. His greatest sense of accomplishment is to have past “offenders” come back years later to tell him how he influenced their lives and helped them to straighten out.
      After 40 years of service, 27 as Chief, he and his wife Ruth are now retired, and living on their 22 acre farm (the same fare he was raised on), raising beef cows. They travel for pleasure and he also fishes and hunts for fun. With six grown children and ten grandchildren, he stays very busy.

Benjamin H. Spaulding, Sr.: 1949-1950

      Born in Billerica, MA. February 7, 1892, Benjamin H. Spaulding Sr. moved from Lowell to Hudson before coming to Berlin in 1926 where he raised his family.
      Ben served as a volunteer fireman, Constable and Dog Officer. Ben was appointed Police Chief in 1949, serving until his death in December of 1950. Berlin, being a small community, was served by a part-time Police Department and the use of personal cars as cruisers.
      Ben was employed as a night watchman at McCann Ice Cream plant in Berlin for 15 years sometimes being called away for Police business. Many of the local people today still remember as youngsters’ going to McCann’s where Chief Spaulding would treat them to some ice cream.
      Benjamin Spaulding and his wife Grace were the parents of seven children. His son Benjamin Jr. served as a part-time Berlin officer for 23 years and became Berlin’s first full-time Patrolman in 1970 under Chief Henry Wheeler, Retiring as Police Chief himself in 2003 after 33 years of service.

Clyde Rogers: 1934-1948

      No Current Bio

Roland Wheeler: 1933-1934

      No Current Bio

Walter Cole: 1908-1933

      No Current Bio