Commonwealth Journal

March 20, 2013

125 Years of Service

Somerset Police Department founded March 13, 1888

Staff Report
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

Somerset Police Department recently celebrated 125 years of service in the community.
The history of SPD dates all the way back to March 13, 1888, when Mayor A. Wolf appointed John B. Ingram as the first chief of police for the newly formed City of Somerset. 
The police department would grow along with the city’s population and physical boundaries over the next 125 years. 
Still, some have lost their lives in the line of duty. 
“As the department gets a year older, it is important to remember those officers who lost their lives serving the citizens of our city,” stated Lt. Shannon Smith, with SPD. 
Somerset Chief of Police Silas West was shot and killed in 1928 while attempting to arrest a drunk person on the square. Patrolman Walter McKinley Massingale was shot and killed on Halloween night in 1929 while investigating a bootlegger on South Maple Street. And in 1957, Police Chief Harold Catron was shot on his porch on Jasper Street, and he would later die from those wounds in 1964.
“Our 125th anniversary is a milestone to our department,” said SPD Acting Police Chief Major Doug Nelson. “Through hard work, rigorous training, and an established level of professionalism, the men and women of the Somerset Police Department will continue to serve our community to make it a safe place to live and work.”