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Horseheads Village Hall
202 South Main Street
Horseheads, New York 14845
(607) 739–5691

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History of the Horseheads Police Department

Joe Lynch, Jim Evans, Ray Lawrence, Stan Kowalski, Leon Kole, Chief Mark Dilmore

The Village of Horseheads, incorporated in May 1837, was not incorporated as Horseheads, but as Fairport. It was not in the Town of Horseheads, but in the Town of Elmira. It remained in that Town until 1854 when the town of Horseheads was created. The name of Fairport was only retained for eight years, when in 1845 it was changed to Horseheads, its present name.

On August 12, 1862, a massive fire destroyed the entire business district of Horseheads. From 1837–1862, very few records remain on municipal services; all of which were lost in the fire. From what has been discovered after the fire, the earliest recorded police justice seems to have been Dewitt C. Curtis. He was appointed in 1870 and was succeeded by T.V. Weller, who held the office until 1883 when Martin V. Backman was elected to fill the position. Law Enforcement for Horseheads apparently consisted of constables and police justices for many years with assistance of sheriff’s deputies.

According to scarce records that could be found, in 1937 Police Chief Colin Storrs was appointed. T.E. LaFrance was designated the first police “justice”. The police department served the community on a part-time basis until 1945, after which Chief Marcus Dilmore initiated 24-hr. coverage. He also instituted a record keeping system for arrests, complaints and accident investigations. A short time later, the Horseheads Police Department combined with the Elmira Police for the first radio communication network in the area.

For many years, the police department was comprised of regular police officers as well as “special police” and civil defense auxiliary police. Throughout the years, the police department increased in staff and calls for service and the community population grew with it. In 1902 a Village census showed a population of 2,035. by 1945, the population had increased to approximately 5,000. Currently the Village has approximately 7,500 residents and a large business district. The police department consists of twelve full-time officers, which includes a K-9 unit, School Resource Officer and two part-time Community Service Officers that assist with enforcing code violations. The police department responds to more than 19,000 calls for service each year.

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