When San Bernardino’s 1905 Charter was adopted, it had this to say about the Police Department:

    SEC. 181. The police department shall consist of a chief of police, and such officers and other policemen as the mayor and common council may determine; but the police force, other than the chief of police, and special policemen appointed for a limited time for a special purpose, shall not exceed one police officer for each one thousand and five hundred inhabitants of the city.  Charter of the City of San Bernardino, Section 181, 1905.

    In 1937, the people of the City of San Bernardino considered a new section 181. Council put it on the ballot by resolution on February 1, 1937.  At a special municipal election consolidated with the primary municipal election of March 15, 1937, the voters of San Bernardino voted on eight charter amendments. The first of these amendments was Proposed Charter Amendment No. 1:

    It is hereby proposed  that Section 181 of the City Charter of the City of San Bernardino be amended to read as follows: Section 181: The Police Department shall consist of a Chief of Police, and such officers and other policemen as the Mayor and Common Council may determine; but the police force, other than the chief of police, and special policemen appointed for a limited time for a special purpose, shall not exceed one police officer for each one thousand inhabitants of the city. Proposed Charter Amendment N0.1,  submitted to the voters on March 15, 1937; reproduced in Chapter 54, Statutes of 1937, Page 2760.

    The voters approved Proposed Charter Amendment No. 1:

     

    Yes 4611
    No 2807
    Total 7418

    Turnout for the election was about 9,572 (the amount polled in the Mayoral primary).

    The 1940 United States Census listed San Bernardino population of 43,634, allowing a maximum police force of 43 officers, not including special officers or the Chief of Police.

    In 1941, at a meeting in March 1941, the City reached the 43 officer limit. According to the San Bernardino Daily Sun of March 5, 1941, the one per 1000 standard was based upon a “standard adopted throughout the country.” This was the first time, according to the article, that the City had been fully manned to the Charter’s standard.

    The two officers to be hired were traffic officers, subject to civil service examination. In 1941, the police department budget was 20 percent of the City of San Bernardino budget.  Estimated expenditures during FY 1940 city-wide were $537,483.89, while the police department budget was $106,938.05.

    At the time of the Sun article, the Police Department consisted of a Chief of Police, 5 desk sergeants, 1 plain clothes officer, 29 patrolmen, 1 traffic sergeant, 4 motorcycle officers, and 1 traffic patrolman. The monthly payroll for all the officers, including the Chief was $7,395.

    Leave a Reply