Mayor Charlie Wyatt


Shot1_smIn 1905, when Boonville was officially changed from a town to a city, Mayor John F. Heinzle appointed four men to be city policemen:  Laurence Lerch, James Clark, Sherman Small and John Vincent.  Small was named Police Chief at a salary of $10.00 a month, while the others received $8.50 a month.  Reportedly, Small’s biggest aggravation was women riding bicycles around the Boonville Public Square.  Thinking that they got in the way of more important traffic such as the horses and buggies.  He arrested as many women on bicycles as he saw fit.

There were actually some 15 to 20 saloons on or near the Boonville Public Square during the early 1900’s.  Transient coal-miners and prospectors provided excitement as “free-for-alls” and shootings took place in the saloons.  In 1906, police officer Robert Williams (pictured below) was shot while attempting to break up a fight at the Yellow Dog Saloon at the corner of 3rd and Locust Streets.

Others who served as Boonville City Police Officers Full-Time During this era were: John Kinder, Levi Scales, Ed Fisher, Dello Roberts, Christ Bufkin, Oliver Houghland, U.G. Broshears, James Newby, William Jeffries, William Julian, and Frank St. Clair.

Between the years of 1915 and 1925, a very solid and active Ku Klux Klan organization was in Warrick County.  Boonville City Police Officers Luther Stambush, Ed N. Bell, John Vincent and F.D. Gowen were often enlisted by Sheriff Earl M. Spradley to help disperse gathering mobs and to raid the illegal “moonshine stills” in the area. 

Ben_Alexander_smBen Alexander served as a Boonville Police Officer from January 1934 to July 1956. Alexander was a dedicated, no-nonsense police officer.  He “walked the beat” every evening as night patrolman and personally checked all the businesses around the Boonville Square on foot.  He is best remembered for his practice of kicking the front bumpers of cars parked around the square after the new parking meters were installed, then staring the driver sternly in the eye if his meter was empty.  

As the only night patrolman on duty in Boonville for several years, Alexander had his hands full keeping up with the kids who sneaked into the local movie theaters through the back door, climbed through the fence at the old Boonville Fairgrounds, “skinny-dipped” after dark in the City Lake and climbed up the old water tower to paint their names. 

1950’s Group Picture: 
Photo taken during term of Mayor Onis G. Rudolph. 1948-1955
Front Row left to right:  Otis Bracher, Alfred Hall, (unidentified), Ed Anderson, 
Guy Hoover; Middle Row: Kenneth Weyerbacher, Mayor Rudolph, Ethel Barclay; 
Back Row: Joe Moranz, Levi Broshears, (Unidentified), Don Wilder, Robert McConnell, 
Ben Alexander, Jim Persinger, and Wilson Robertson.  
Other individuals who worked as Full-Time police officers during this time were: 
Robert Tuley and Paul French.

In 1980 Tom Prior appointed Lloyd Whittaker as Police Chief who started the first ever-filing system for incident reports using case numbers.

In March of 1996, The Boonville Police Department received its first ever K-9, “Albin”, a drug detection dog.  Albin worked the streets of Boonville until his retirement in 2000.

In March of 1997, during the term of Mayor Pam Hendrickson, The Boonville Police Department made a major move from the basement of Boonville City Hall, to the old Public Library at the intersection of Locust and 4th Streets.   In June of 2004, The Boonville Police Department implemented its first School Resource Officer. 

Currently the Boonville Police Department is staffed by 14 full-time , 2 part-time police officers, and one administrative assistant and police chaplain. See Roll Call for a list of the current staff.

And the story continues...

Thanks go out to Mrs. Barbara Brown Meyer who compiled portions of the above information.
More history will be added when located. If you have or know anything about the departments history, contact Chief Brandon Wells during office hours.