Berwick Police History

The earliest recorded Police Officer in the Borough of Berwick was Chief Adam Clayberger, who was hired by the Borough in 1902.  Prior to Clayberger’s term as Chief of Police, an official was elected by the people.  The title of this position was “High Constable”.  The High Constable position was part-time, and was paid through collected fees.  Ultimately, the position of High Constable was eliminated, and in 1914 was dissolved.

The turn of the century brought many businesses to Berwick.  Among them, the ACF Plant which helped Berwick to become a “Boom Town”.  Because of the influx of citizens in the Borough, the need arose for an institution that would maintain order and enforce the law.  By 1955 the Berwick Police Department consisted of a Chief, a Sergeant, five patrolmen, and three clerks.  When a shortage of officers occurred, the local newspaper would issue an ad.  A civil service test was given.  The top three would be given to Council.  Council members would then decide among the men who passed the civil service test who would become the new Berwick Patrolman. 

Between 1943 and 1955 a short wave radio system was installed at the police station to link Berwick with the rest of the county in case of disaster.  Two way radios were also installed in the patrol cars.  During this time period, many technological advances had been made; however, the borough had no officers trained in the field of ballistics, fingerprinting, and handwriting.  If the need arose for any of those specialized fields, an expert would be contacted in Wilkes-Barre or Harrisburg.