HOW IT BEGAN:
The “Town of Lakeport,” originally called Forbestown, was incorporated on April 30, 1888. The first law enforcement official was W.M. Woods, the Town Marshal. He was elected to a 2-year term and paid the sum of $15 per month. By 1918, the Marshal’s salary was increased to $20 per month and then jumped to $75 per month in 1920, when the Marshal also served as Lakeport’s Night Watchman. This required the Marshal to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Marshal became a one-man police department. The Town Council changed the Marshal’s position from elected to appointed in 1920.
On March 3, 1930, the Town Council changed the name of Lakeport to the “City of Lakeport.” George E. Moore, who was serving as Town Marshal, became the City’s first Chief of Police.
MARSHALS AND CHIEFS:
Since 1888, Lakeport has had 15 Town Marshals and 24 Chiefs of Police through the year 2018. The longest tenure of any Chief or Marshal was 15 years. Chief James L. Campbell served from March, 1979 to April, 1994. Campbell began his career with Lakeport as a Police Officer in 1966, when the department consisted of 6 sworn officers. When Chief Campbell retired in 1994, the department had doubled in size to 12 officers. The shortest tenure of any Chief is one month. Chief Robert H. Mammen was hired in March, 1969. Chief Mammen accepted the position, but resigned one month later when his wife refused to move to Lakeport. See list of Town Marshals and Police Chiefs.
The Lakeport Police Department has been housed in many locations over the years. In the early days, the Marshal was stationed in the reading room in Miss Emma Thompson’s Home School. In 1891, the Levy Building was constructed across the street from the courthouse and the Marshal was stationed there for a short time. Headquarters was moved in 1918 to the newly built Carnegie Library.
Eventually, LPD would share office space with other City departments at 445 N. Main Street, the current home of the Lakeport Fire Protection District. The current City Hall building, at 225 Park Street, was acquired in 1984 from Pacific Bell Telephone Company. The City’s move into that remodeled facility in 1987 left LPD as the sole occupant of the Craig Building.
By 1996, LPD had long out-grown their facility and the search was on in earnest for a new home. Staff now consisted of 14 officers, 4 civilians and 6 reserves. The City purchased the building located at 916 N. Forbes Street, from Gerri and Frank Goodrich, in 1999.
By 2007, LPD realized there were some safety concerns with their new facility. The department proposed a headquarters project that did not move forward. In 2014, Chief of Police Brad Rasmussen went to the City’s safety committee with further security concerns and police staff ideas for a better facility. In March of 2015, the City purchased the former Social Security Administration building located at 2025 South Main Street.
On December 14, 2016, LPD hosted a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting at the new facility. In January, 2017, LPD moved into their new facility. The new facility was built in 2002 and is approximately 4,400 square feet. Chief Rasmussen said, “The facility will provide a safe and secure home for many years for the police employees who protect the community.”
This is only a portion of the history of the Lakeport Police Department with some recent updates to Chief Engstrom’s December 2000 history.