Little Rock Look Back: First six Little Rock Police officers are hired

On January 9, 1866, the new Little Rock City Council held its second meeting after the post-Civil War resumption of municipal government.  At that meeting, a special committee was created to meet with Gen. Williams who was the military commander for Arkansas.  Mayor J. J. McAlmont, Alderman I. A. Henry, and Alderman Henry Ashley were authorized to discuss the creation of a permanent police force in Little Rock.

At the same meeting, the City Council hired the first Little Rock police officers. These six men were hired on a temporary basis until a department could be created. Their pay was $3.00 a day (that would be the equivalent of $47.55 a day in 2019). The first six officers were John O’Brien, Thomas Doyle, James Anderson, John Henry, Fred Kurtz, and Joseph Chears.

Prior to the Civil War, Little Rock had a Constable and volunteers, but no police force.  As the City had continued to grow, even during the Civil War, as the government was reorganizing, it was felt it was time for a permanent police force.

The Little Rock Police Department was officially created on January 15, 1866 by Ordinance 2 of 1866. Two days later, the salary was set at $2.00 a day.  No reason was given as to the reduction from the temporary pay base.