The Berkeley Police Department said “In 1905,
August Vollmer was elected town Marshal. In 1909, he was appointed as this City's first Chief of Police. Chief Vollmer
was instrumental in organizing this department, creating what we now call a "Code of Ethics", which included eliminating
the acceptance of gratuities, rewards or favors." Chief Vollmer demanded a high
level of honesty, efficiency, interest and hard work by his officers. This has continued to this day, which has been the foundation
for our world wide reputation in the law enforcement field.
Chief Vollmer is considered by some as the father of
modern day law enforcement. His progressive thinking and use of new innovations in law enforcement became the foundation that
our department has built on. Some of the early innovations by Chief Vollmer and this department were:
In 1906, the department installed a basic records system
(One of the first in the United States); In 1906, installed the first Modus Operandi (MO) System; In 1907, first use of scientific
investigation (Kelinschmidt case - analysis of blood, fibers and soil);In 1907, the department's police school was established.
It included instruction from professors on such subjects as the law and evidence procedures. This was the first school of
its kind in the world and had a far reaching effect on law enforcement; In 1911, organized the first Police Motorcycle Patrol;
In 1913, changed to automobiles for patrolling; In 1916, Chief Vollmer established the first School of Criminology at University
of California, at Berkeley. Chief Vollmer became a strong advocate of college educated police officers; In 1918, began using
intelligence tests in recruiting police officers; In 1920, the first lie detector instrument was developed at University of
California and used by our department; In 1921, began using a psychiatric screening in recruitment; In 1923, the first Junior
Traffic Police Program was established; In 1924, established one of the first single fingerprint systems; and, In 1925, established
our first Crime Prevention Division and hired the first Police Woman.
According to Crime Fighter (Biography of August Vollmer),
“When he faced a problem in law enforcement, Vollmer often found a new and better way to solve it. Thus he was responsible
for the first Coordinating Council for crime prevention, the first lie detector, the first modern prison farm, the first school
for policemen and many other important contributions.”