History of the St. Matthews Police Department
In 1954, the St. Matthews City Council appropriated money ($1,442.00) to start their own police department. 1955 saw the birth of the St. Matthews Police Department when William Tolliver was appointed Captain of a three-man force and Granville Crockett as the police chief. The officers operated from one desk in the crowded two-room Colonial Building city office. That modest law enforcement group grew to a modern department of nineteen officers and a station inside City Hall, consisting of a suite of offices and a two-cell holdover.
The force had twenty patrol cars and utilized a twenty-four hour system that enables officers to have cars with them at all times, whether or not they are on duty. Becoming a more professional agency, the officers had a minimum of four hundred hours of law enforcement training including a week-long yearly retraining. The department had been led by Chiefs William Tolliver, Edgar Kelly, Kermit Cook, Jim Burton, and Wilbur Bilyeu.
In May of 1988, Chief Norm Meyer became the new leader of the St. Matthews Police Department and would continue for twenty-nine years until his retirement in 2017. During his tenure he grew the department to thirty-nine officers and a fleet of fifty vehicles. In addition to routine police services, he added additional police services such as House Watches, bank escorts, security surveys for businesses, crime prevention, anti-drug programs and Mall foot patrols. The budget expanded to nearly 6 million dollars. He created the first Special Response Team to respond to critical incidents such as barricaded subject, hostage situations, active aggressors, and other situations patrol officers could not handle. Chief Mayer also added technology such as mobile data terminals and in-car cameras.
After Chief Mayer’s announcement to retire, Assistant Chief Dave Beyer was named interim chief until a replacement was named.
In November of 2017, Chief Barry Wilkerson was appointed as Chief of Police. He continues to expand upon the advances of his predecessors through the exploration of utilizing body cameras, license plate readers, a citizen contact database and other technology to assist in fighting crime. The department has now grown to forty-two officers with an expanded narcotics squad to focus on increasing narcotics issues and violent crime. The department has also collaborated with a Victim Services Specialist to assist those in need in the community.