Historical Society

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Yonkers Historical Society

George Rutledge
Deputy Chief George Rutledge (Ret.), President

It is difficult to comprehend and appreciate that Yonkers Police Officers have been patrolling Yonkers streets since the civil war, and doing so with loyalty and dedication. It is the oldest police department in Westchester County, and aside from New York City, probably the oldest in the state.

During these 143 years of service, the department has experienced major changes that have been both positive and tragic. Because of this, the Yonkers Police Historical Society was founded. The men and women who comprise the Society are all volunteers who recognize the significance of our past, which is steeped in pride and tradition. Thirteen of Yonkers police officers have lost their lives in the line of duty. Until the Society began its research, most of them had been completely forgotten. It was in their memory, and the memory of every officer who has served this department, that the Yonkers Police Museum (renamed in 1996 as the George E. Rutledge Museum, after the President and founder of the Yonkers Police Historical Society), was established in 1978. The Society continues to research the Department's proud history, and locate and display police memorabilia in the museum.

Deputy Chief Rutledge (ret) recalls that on April 10, 1971, the Police Department reached its centennial, one hundred years of professional police service to the people of Yonkers. Unfortunately, as a young officer, he was not even aware of this. At the time, no celebration or memorial ceremony was held. He vowed to change things for our next milestone. Thanks to the work of Deputy Chief Rutledge (ret) and the Historical Society, on April 10, 1996, when the Department reached the anniversary of 125 years of service, the occasion did not pass without a celebration. This annual report is a continuation of this celebration. Our Department is rich with talent, accomplishment, and pride, all of which are built on a tradition of excellent service to our community. Not everyone can work as a police officer. It is a special calling that requires unique attributes not found in the civilian sector. In particular, officers must have the courage to face injury and the possibility of death every day, and constantly deal with society at its worst. Once accepted, an officers becomes part of a special breed that is all one color, blue. The Yonkers Police Historical Society is dedicated to ensuring that the service of all the officers who have proudly served this City will always be remembered.