History of the Department

  • 2013
    • Opened our first official substation at 6390 E 26th Street. The Araby East Substation is a 4,100 square foot facility that will offer many of the services provided by our headquarters building. The substation will be open Monday to Friday and is a resource for the eastern part of the city to obtain police services, as well as internal services to our eastern officers.
  • 2012
    • John Lekan is appointed as the 13th Chief of Police.
    • Susan Otero appointed as the Deputy Chief of Police.
    • Chief Geier hired as the City of Goodyear's Chief of Police.
    • Department budget: $20,645,890.
  • 2011
    • John Lekan appointed Interim Chief of Police
    • Assigned two officers to the Gang Resistance and Education Training (GREAT) Program.
    • YPD has first female Motor Officer, Lori Franklin.
    • YPD has first female K-9 Officer, Stephanie Malone.
    • 1st Hispanic Citizen’s Police Academy- An 8 week long course that covered a variety of topics about the Yuma Police Department presented in Spanish.
    • Creation & implementation of Animal Control Services - Began animal control on January 1st 2012 with one supervisor and two animal control officers.
    • Department budget: $20,515,537.
  • 2010
    • The Deputy Chief of Police position was re-created and Captain John Lekan was promoted. YPD offers Online Reporting, which allows the public to report minor incidents via the internet free of charge. The Anti-Graffiti Strategy (TAGS) was announced to combat and abate graffiti throughout the city.
    • Creation of the Hispanic Community Liaison Officer, Patrol-Based K-9 Program and our inaugural DUI Checkpoint.
    • Department budget: $20,531,694.
  • 2009
    • Chief William Robinson retires after 20 years as Chief of Police.
    • Jerry Geier is appointed as the 12th Chief of Police Department personnel total: 172 officers, 84 civilians, Department budget: $22,705,921 Jurisdiction: 112 square miles.
    • Chief Geier promotes the first female Captain, Susan Otero, and assigns her to the newly formed Investigations Division. A major reorganization of the department resulted in the creation of the Investigations Division, the third police division along with Field Services and Support Services. Two additional Lieutenants positions were also created, bringing our total to eight.
  • 2008 - Department personnel total: 177 officers, 92 civilians, Department budget: $26,384,784, Jurisdiction: 112.56 square miles.
  • 2006 - YPD promotes first female Police Lieutenant, Susan Otero
  • 2005 - Department personnel total: 161 officers, 88 civilians, Department budget: $22,801,489, Jurisdiction: 109.1 square miles.
  • 2004 - MDC's (mobile data computers) installed in patrol cars.
  • 2003 - Department acquires first ATV’s and golf carts for alternate patrol methods.
  • 2002 - Computer forensic position created.
  • 2001 - Gang detail unit created with 2 full-time officers.
  • 1999 - Move into new building located immediately south of old building.
  • 1998 - Department personnel total: 124 officers, 56 civilians, Department budget: $11.5 million, jurisdiction: 34 square miles.
  • 1997 - First canine team formed with Officer Raebel and his dog Tiko.
  • 1996 - On February 6th the first Citizens Police Academy is held. Shoulder patch changed to the current logo.
  • 1995 - On July 4th Yuma Police Lieutenant Daniel Powell Elkins and Arizona Department of Public Safety Sergeant Mike Crowe were shot and killed in the line of duty. Bicycle unit created.
  • 1990 - Department purchases Sig Sauer semi-automatic handguns to replace officer owned revolvers.
  • 1988 - William "Robby" Robinson is appointed as the 11th Chief of Police. 9-1-1 goes live. Department personnel total: 87 officers, 30 civilians, Department budget: $5 million, Jurisdiction: 22 square miles.
  • 1986 - On April 9th Officer Gary A. Maas is the first Yuma Police Officer killed in the line of duty, shot while trying to apprehend a suspect. Department provides bullet-proof vests to officers.
  • 1984 - Work shifts changed from 5 8-hour days to 4 10-hour days.
  • 1981 - The Deputy Police Chief position is reclassified to a Captain position and the department is reorganized into two major divisions – Field Services and Support Services, both headed by Captains – Bud Avery and Richard Leffler.
  • 1980 - Chief Powell Elkins retires and David W. Brown is appointed. Department personnel total: 68 officers, 19 civilians, Department budget: $2.5 million, Jurisdiction: 18 square miles.
  • 1978 - The Department of Public Safety is again separated into Fire and Police Departments. First female officers – Carolyn Burton and Cindy Anderson. Special Enforcement Team (SET) formed with 6 officers.
  • 1976 - The city combines the Police and Fire Departments into one agency, creating the Department of Public Safety. Chief Powell Elkins is appointed Director of the Department of Public Safety, in addition to his Police Chief duties. The Deputy Police Chief position is recreated (Harold “Bud” Avery).
  • 1975 - Shoulder patch changed to City of Yuma seal.
  • 1973 - Went from fixed mobile radio to removable radio.
  • 1969 - First Yuma Police Academy is conducted by ALEOAC. A countywide narcotics task force is established. Powell L. Elkins is appointed Chief of Police.
  • 1968 - The Arizona Law Enforcement Officers Advisory Council (ALEOAC) is created by the State of Arizona to set a statewide standard of certification and training for peace officers. Arthur Fairbanks is appointed Yuma’s eighth Chief of Police. The Yuma Police Department moves into a new facility with a jail at 1500 South 1st Avenue.
  • 1967 - Joseph L. Hickey appointed Chief of Police. First air-conditioned patrol car (whew!).
  • 1962 - Competitive examinations are established for police appointments.
  • 1961 - Sgt Ray Dehn replaces Burke as Police Captain.
  • 1960 - The first Yuma Police Department Captain position created (William Burke). Robert L. Mabery is appointed Chief of Police.
  • 1956 - A city pension plan goes into effect for police officers.
  • 1954 - The Yuma Police Department Deputy Chief position is created (Robert Mabery).
  • 1952 - The first motorcycle is placed into service (three wheeled).
  • 1949 - The first “Paddy Wagon” is placed in service.
  • 1948 - Yuma Police Department Rules and Regulations are established.
  • 1947 - Teletype system is installed at the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office. Two Yuma Police Officers are shot and wounded, Ray Snailum and Doyle Breech.
  • 1945 - Work shifts for Police Officers are changed from seven twelve-hour days to six ten-hour days.
  • 1944 - Harold Breech is the first appointed Chief of Police.
  • 1943 - Chief of Police becomes an appointed position.
  • 1942 - Yuma Police Reserves are established.
  • 1940 - Two-way radios installed in police vehicles.
  • 1939 - First Yuma Police training school established.
  • 1937 - Uniforms are changed to navy blue in color.
  • 1935 - Yuma Sheriff’s Office sets up short wave radio service with El Centro and Phoenix Police.
  • 1933 - Isaac Polhamus elected Police Chief.
  • 1929 - Police Department offices placed in City Hall. The first police uniforms worn – forest green shirts and pants, black Sam Brown belt and brown shoes.
  • 1926 - First Police Sergeant promoted (Perry Allman).
  • 1923 - Henry Levy re-elected Police Chief. First police telephone placed on Main St. and Second St.
  • 1922 - Dept. personnel total: 1 Chief, 2 Police Officers, Department budget: $6850.00, Population: 4389.
  • 1921 - Samuel L. Kelly elected Police Chief.
  • 1915 - The Police Chief becomes an elected position, Chief Henry Levy is elected.
  • 1914 - Yuma Police Department was established with the Chief of Law Enforcement being Town Marshall Henry Levy.