Police History

Department Establishment
The Chardon Police Department was established in June 1947, when Village Council decided Chardon needed a full-time police force. Council then appointed John R. Bohl, a veteran of the Ravenna Police Department, as Marshal and Chief of Police. His annual salary was $2,700.

Prior to Bohl's appointment, law enforcement duties were performed by a village marshal, elected by the citizens and a night watchman appointed by the mayor. The night watchman, an armed security guard primarily for local businesses, guarded against robberies, break ins and also sounded fire alarms.

Village Council minutes from the 1890s and early 1900s indicate the marshal's annual salary was $25. The Village paid the night watchman $0.65 per night. Local businesses and shopkeepers paid a small fee to the night watchman for his services too. But, he had to walk around town, calling on each business or shopkeeper, once a month to collect his fee! The fee in 1938 was $3 a month for each and every business or shopkeeper.

Marshal Roy "Shorty" Willman
During the 1920s and 1930s the Marshal and Night Watch positions were merged into one position. Chardon's first police car, a used 1936 Ford sedan, was purchased in 1938. It was all black, with a gold outline of a maple leaf on the doors with C.P.D. set inside the leaf. It was equipped with a siren and spot light. The Marshal, Roy "Shorty" Willman, accompanied by a large black guard dog "Jack," were seen patrolling everywhere. Willman was the first marshal to be able to enforce Chardon's traffic ordinances.

Chief Bohl
Following Chief Bohl's appointment in 1947, 3 additional officers joined the force: Joseph Dorko, Louis Robusky and Walt Bookman. Several part-time special police officers were also appointed to assist the full-time officers for back-up and special occasions. The new Police Department had one new patrol car, a 1949 Ford sedan, which eventually was equipped with a two-way radio, some fire fighting equipment, and riot guns.

Chief Bohl was a very popular leader and was instrumental in having his officers well-trained and capable of handling any situation. Tragically, in 1966, Chief Bohl was stricken with a heart attack while on duty, at the scene of a multiple fatality traffic crash. In 1991 his name was memorialized and added to the National Police Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.

Police Headquarters
Police headquarters consisted of a single room, on the second floor of the Village Hall, originally built in 1908. The jail cells were in the basement. In the 60s the Police Department offices moved to the first floor. A police and fire radio console position for dispatching was fabricated. Jail cells in the basement were moved to the rear of the first floor. This additional space afforded the chief a private office, a squad room and a kitchen.

Numerous renovations during the 70s and 80s, eventually provided about 2,000 square feet of work area. The old jail cells were removed in 1989 when the last major renovation was completed. All prisoners were then held at the County Jail.