The History of the Buckhannon Police Department

  • Records of the City of Buckhannon date back to the year 1853 in the form of City Council minutes. Although the city wasn’t officially chartered by the state until the 1930s, the town still kept record of events, including that of the police. The title of Chief of Police can be traced back through these records to the early 1900s. Prior to this time, dating back clear to 1853, this title was known as Town Sergeant. The Chief of Police evolved from this position by the early 1900s and has been referred to as such ever since. 
  • Records of a regular standing police force are sketchy. At the time of the Town Sergeant, there was little to no mention of any other officer other than the Town Sergeant. At different points throughout the period 1853 – 1920s, there was mention of individuals being employed by the City as “special police” on a temporary basis, however. According to the records, these individuals were “qualified” and served in the temporary capacity as an aide to the Town Sergeant. Other than that, the strongest evidence of a regular force isn’t found until around the mid-1900s when the Police Civil Service took effect in the City of Buckhannon. 
  • Between the years 1900 – 1903, the City of Buckhannon was effectively split into two towns – Buckhannon and South Buckhannon. During this time the town of South Buckhannon kept records as well, and in these there is evidence of a jail existing there. 
  • Prior to the County Communications Center, City Hall would dispatch calls to the City Police. During this time period, foot patrol was a popular means of policing in town. When an officer would get a call, City Hall would activate a light affixed to the street lights on Main Street, alerting the officer to return to the station at City Hall and take the call. This method of communication was used as late as the 1970s. Before the replacement of the traffic lights on Main Street in the mid-2000s, these “communication lights” could still be seen. Starting in the late 1960s - early 1970s, officers were also equipped with two-way radios to city hall during their working hours, but maintained radio contact with the on-duty fireman at the Buckhannon Fire Department 24 hours a day.
  • The mayor was responsible for holding court on violations of all city ordinances until the late 1980s. After that, the municipal court was established and a regular municipal judge was appointed by the mayor to fulfill these obligations.
  • In 1940, Buckhannon Officer Wilbur Grubb was murdered on Camden Avenue while responding to a call of an assault and attempted rape. Please see the Memorials page of this website for more information.
  • We recently received information regarding a line of duty death back in the 1920s. We are currently researching this information and will provide updates as they become available.

Chiefs of Police

Matt Gregory

2004 - Present

Virgil Miller

2001 - 2004

J.C. Rafferty

2000 - 2001

Fred Gaudet

1993 - 1999

Larry Marsh

1988 - 1992

Richard Osborn

1978 - 1988

Don Ervin

1977 - 1978

John Craig

1976 - 1977

Allman Grose

1963 - 1975

Paul Mackey

1952 - 1963

James Westfall

1951 - 1952

D.D. Marple

1943 - 1951

John Martin

1942 - 1943

J.C. Berry

1937 - 1942

Woodson Martin

1934 - 1937

C.A. McVaney

1932 - 1934

G.E. Ashworth

1931 - 1932

H.E. Dean

1930 - 1931

S.E. Taylor

1926 - 1930

J.B. Stalnaker

1925 - 1926

Lloyd Davis

1924 - 1925

W.E. Kiddy

1923 - 1924

J.C. Berry

1923 - 1923

P.H. Fallon

1921 - 1923

C.G. Mearns

1921 - 1921

Buckhannon Public
Safety Complex
24 South Florida Street
Buckhannon WV 26201