Providence Police Department, by Paul Campbell, John Glancy, and George Pearson
The Providence Police Department has served New England's second-largest city from its beginnings in 1651 with the appointment of a town sergeant to today's force of nearly 500 men and women. Officially established in 1864, policing in Providence has changed considerably from the days of night watchmen armed with handheld rattle alarms and nightsticks. Whether quelling the violent street riots of 1914, enforcing Prohibition, or fighting the New England mob, the PPD has evolved to meet the complex challenges posed by the city. It also boasts a history of leadership among the nation's law enforcement agencies, being among the first to incorporate women into the department's ranks, create innovative campaigns to reduce traffic fatalities, and pioneer the use of trained canines to aid in police work. Today, cutting-edge telecommunications and forensic analysis in crime fighting continue to protect the city of nearly 178,000.