The Village of Chester was founded in 1845. The first full-time uniformed Police Officer was hired in the fall of 1947. For many years prior to this, Harold “Slivers” Ringen was the Chief of Police at a salary of $100 per year. Chief Ringen was on-call 24 hours a day and generally took care of domestic and barroom disputes. The State Police handled traffic, felonies, etc.
In the 1940’s Joseph Scandura and William Van Etten were also Village Constables.
The first full-time Officer was in uniform eight hours a day/five days a week with Wednesdays and Sundays off and on-call 24 hours a day/seven days a week. Originally, no patrol car was provided. The Officer used his own car and was reimbursed for gasoline.
After several years of this arrangement, the Village purchased a patrol car. Paul Kreher was the first full-time Police Officer followed by Walter Lipsey, Frank Garvilla, Fred Deshler Jr., Vic Roggia and Roger Phillips.
Though many incidents illustrate their dedication, a good many hours were spent in serving the general public from crossing school children to assisting a lady trying to park her car. Always known by their first name and treated more like a favorite Uncle than a Law Enforcement Officer, the residents relied upon the Police for that helping hand when needed.
Occasionally, serious encounters took place. A labor incident at Chester Cable where a non-union worker crossed the picket line and was threatened with tar and feathers caused the Police of Chester to take action and restore order preventing serious offenses.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services/Office of Public Safety certifies the modern Police force. Their dedication exemplifies the small town Police of our country.
Peter J. Graziano Jr.