In 1890, Francis G. Newlands, who later became a U.S. senator from Nevada, formed the Chevy Chase Land Company. The land company immediately began the development of Chevy Chase Village on the Maryland side of the District of Columbia line, just north of the Chevy Chase Circle. It was one of the first planned suburbs in the United States.
In 1914, the Maryland General Assembly created a special taxing area known as Chevy Chase and modeled on the New England town meeting system. In 1915, there were 175 houses in the Village. In 1923, a night watchman was considered sufficient to keep order in the Village. Residents chipped in $1 per month on a voluntary basis for his services.
A later night watchman, Reinhold Springirth, a German with a commanding presence, is still remembered by longtime residents. He wore a uniform when on duty, and was often mistaken for a naval officer. In addition to his police duties, Mr. Springirth was also the town garbage collector. In 1939, William Austin came on board as a night patrolman, and during World War II he was made Superintendent of Public Services, as the job of Police Chief was then called.
Mr. Austin soon obtained his own night patrolman, Arthur Bradshaw. Mr. Bradshaw held the position for 22 years, and taught many young teenagers how to drive a car.
The police force gradually expanded under Mr. Austin, adding 5 part-time officers. In 1970, a second full-time officer was added, and a third in 1971. There were 5 annexations over the years with the last in 1972 adding 72 homes to the Village.
By the time Mr. Austin retired in 1980, the Village police had expanded to include 6 officers. Two of the officers were promoted to the rank of Corporal in 1981, and another officer was added in 1983.
In October 1996, the Police Department added a central Communications Center answering all incoming calls to the Village for a variety of services.
The structure of the Police Department today consists of:
- 1 Chief of Police
- 1 Lieutenant
- 1 Sergeant
- 7 Officers
- 1 Public Safety Coordinator
- 1 Lead Communications Clerk
- 4 Communications clerks