1. 1812 to 1900
  2. 1900 to Present
  3. Previous Chiefs

1812 to 1900

1812 to 1830s

In the decade following the War of 1812, Frankfort's chief law enforcement officer was referred to as a town sergeant who received his instructions from a city board of trustees. He enforced a wide range of ordinances, many of which had little to do with preserving public order.

At various times the board charged the sergeant to ascertain public opinion regarding sidewalks, to warn storekeepers against selling liquor to slaves, to have nuisances removed from the streets, and to notify property owners who had allowed stagnant water to stand on their premises and that they were subject to fines.

The local police authority remained in the hands of a town sergeant until 1831 when Massie Franklin was appointed Captain of Patrol.
By 1835, under a new incorporation act, a "town marshal" replaced the Captain of Patrol as Frankfort's chief law enforcement officer.
With the support of his deputies he was to patrol the town daily and to be vigilant in detecting retailers of spirits without license and keepers of disorderly houses; to arrest all persons engaged in the commission of any riot, unlawful assembly, or breach of the peace; and generally to enforce all other ordinances involving everything from tax collection to removal of nuisances. A Watchman was appointed annually to reinforce the town marshal at night.


In 1870, the city marshal was Humphrey J. Hyde. In the early 1880s, 35 year old Jerry Lee was appointed marshal. Jerry Lee was killed in the line of duty on September 10, 1882, after responding to a disturbance call at the Frankfort Hotel on Main Street. Chief Lee was shot after answering a second disturbance call between two citizens.

In August of 1871, Captain William Gilmore, Officers Jerry Lee and Dick Leonard responded to a riot on Broadway in downtown Frankfort. Election polls had closed and groups of individuals divided by race had engaged in shooting at each other from across the railroad tracks on Broadway. Captain William Gilmore was killed and Officers Lee and Leonard were injured. After an arrest for the shooting of Captain Gilmore, the person accused of the shooting was hanged by a mob within a few hours of being placed in jail. These riots were examples of bitter race relations, which had been building during this period.

1890s to 1900

The last recorded line of duty death occurred on February 14, 1896. Captain Henry Brown and Officer Will Gordon responded to a disturbance at U. Kagin's saloon on Broadway. While trying to arrest the drunken patron, Captain Brown was shot five times. Officer Gordon shot the drunken patron three times. Captain Brown and his killer both died within minutes. Captain Henry Brown had served as a detective and had been a member of the police force for thirty-eight years.

Throughout the 1890s ordinances referred to police officers as "Watchmen". From 1891 to 1894, B.B. Jeffers was chief. From 1894 to 1901 the chief of police was Mace Williams.


All material for this page came from a State Journal article dated October 8, 2006, written by Russell Hatter, Assistant Curator Capital City Museum and The History of the Frankfort Police Department, a monograph written by Detective Jeffery Fogg, 2004.