History of the Mount Kisco Police Department

The history of the police force reveals the history of the community where it operates. Without proper policing there could not be proper growth. So today the many things we enjoy are due largely to the untiring efforts of the police. Just as they have had a place in the Village in the past, they will have an even more prominent place in the future growth. The police department has been handicapped but even with these handicaps, they have succeeded remarkably well in giving Mount Kisco's residents a peaceful community in which to live.

The following is an abbreviated history of the police department, court, facts and interesting events that have occurred over the years.

May 7, 1877 John R. Daniels was appointed the first Mount Kisco Police Chief for a term of one year at an annual salary of one hundred dollars. Ulysses S. Grant was President of the United States.
1878 May: George Carpenter was appointed Chief of Police. The department grew to two men. The year 1878 saw the introduction of the probation system for criminal offenders in the United States.
1879 Women were permitted for the first time to practice before United States courts.
1880 John Archibald was appointed Chief of Police. The population of Mount Kisco was approximately seven hundred and twenty-eight people.
1883 April: George Carpenter was again appointed Chief of Police. Due to the steady growth of the population, three assistants were added to the department.
1884 April: Joseph Egan was appointed Chief of Police.
1885 April: Willett Clark was appointed Chief of Police. He was reappointed in 1886, the year the Statue of Liberty was unveiled.
1887 Ed Cuett was appointed Chief of Police, a berth he was destined to hold for over fourteen years. He was Chief during the great blizzard of 1888 that covered the whole eastern section of the United States and kept everyone indoors for a week.
1892 April: The City of Mount Vernon named a police Captain and four patrolmen to constitute its first organized police department. These men patrolled four and one-half square miles.
1898 March: White Plains organized its first police department when they appointed a Chief and four police officers.
1901 Fred Cregier was appointed Chief of Police at a salary of eighteen dollars per month. At that time the duties of the Chief of Police were many and varied, including truant officer, constable, caretaker of the fire department building, the corporation rooms, located at 105 Main Street, and responsible for most of the Village records, the jail or lockup, and other municipal buildings. He also had to keep an eye on the streets of the business section.
1902 July: Port Chester appointed a Chief and three patrolmen to man its first police department. Chief Fred Cregier read of the Wright Brothers flying their airplane at Kitty Hawk.
1904 August: The honor of making the first arrest for speeding in the United States goes to Newport, Rhode Island. The first motorist was jailed for five days, his penalty for speeding.
1908 October: A horse was procured for Chief Cregier. It was quartered at night in the Chief's barn where he cared for it. He even procured the hay to feed it. The Village Board allowed the Chief ten dollars per month with which to purchase grain for the animal.
The Police Benevolent Association of Westchester County was founded.
1910 The Mount Kisco Police Department now consisted of a Chief and four patrolmen.
1912 The moderately priced car was on the market, among them: Maxwell, Haynes, Oldsmobile, Studebaker and Hupmobile.
May: Jim Platt was appointed as Acting Chief of Police. During the latter part of May the Chief's horse was sold at a public auction.
August: It was noted that the need for a proper speed regulation and its rigid enforcement in our local towns and Villages grew more pressing every day.
August: Walter S. Granville, a retired New York City policeman was appointed Chief of Police at a salary of one hundred dollars per month. He resigned in October, 1912.
Jim Platt again directed the destinies of the Mount Kisco Police Department under a month to month appointment.
1913 Tom Wade, a Bedford Town police officer was made Chief of Police.
April 7, 1913 Frederick J. Cregier was again appointed Chief of Police, the office he held until his retirement on September 1, 1926.
Wade went back with the Bedford Police Department and was later killed in a motorcycle accident.
The year that Parcel Post service began and the Federal Income Tax law became effective. Police officers were exempt from the tax law until some years later.
Through the effort of the Policeman's Benevolent Association of Westchester County, Inc., the Civil Service Commission of the State of New York extended to the various town and Village police departments within Westchester County in June 1913. Therefore, the employment of policemen was no longer subject to abrupt termination as the political complexion of the various communities changed from time to time or at the whims or caprice of the appointing official.
1914 The United States opened the Panama Canal.
1915 Among other things the police force had to contend with was an influx of actors and extras brought to Mount Kisco by the movie industry for the filming of "Birth of a Nation", a civil war epic produced by D.W. Griffith. The actual shooting of the film took place at what is now the ELKS Club property.
1917 April: Saw the entry of the United States into World War I and the first American troops reached France on June 26, 1917.
In the months that followed the enactment of prohibition, the police force noted a decrease in the number of arrests for intoxication. There was still plenty of work to be done, however, and on one occasion, Chief Fred Creiger arrested five men for disorderly conduct. They were fined ten dollars apiece, making the total sum fifty dollars. This amount greatly astonished the judge who stroked his beard in perplexity at the amount taken in. He had received enough in fines that day to pay his entire year's salary.
The New York State Police was organized.
It was during this time that the county was swept by the infantile paralysis plague and many health officers were appointed here to aid Dr. Curry in preventing the outbreak of this dreaded disease.
1918 The jail building was remodeled and the most up-to-date equipment installed. Telephones were established around the Village as call boxes for the officers on duty. The first motorcycle was also purchased.
1924 The Mount Kisco force now consisted of a Chief and seven men.
1925 Two motorcycles were purchased by the department.
The Dirigible Shenandoah was wrecked.
October: Patrolman Edwin McCall became the first Sergeant of the department and held this rank until September 1, 1926 when he was promoted to Chief upon the retirement of Chief Frederick Cregier.
1926 Retired Chief Frederick Cregier died.
1927 Patrolman Frank Mallette transferred to the Town of Bedford Police Department and five months later on November 1st, was promoted to Chief of that department, a position he held for thirty years until his death on August 8, 1957.
In 1927, records show that officers received two days off each month.
Charles A. Lindbergh made the first solo Atlantic flight.
1929 Robert Stewart was appointed Judge. 
1929 The year 1929 was a memorable one for Mount Kisco patrolmen, the "walkingest" cops in the world. Up until this time, the officer's patrol consisted of a walking beat that started off in the business section at Main Street, down Kisco Avenue to Sutton's Row, making a ring there, and back down to Main Street and New Castle Corners, ring in on a box there, then to Main Street and Lexington Avenue, ring there, and back down Lexington Avenue to Main Street. After that little safari, he felt he was entitled to a cup of coffee at Fineout's Diner. Mickey Duffy or Johnny Roche was usually on duty there to serve it.
Up until this time, the department had two motorcycles for patrol duty. Despite the stock market crash of 1929, followed by a long depression, the department purchased a 1929 Durant touring car. With the purchase of the car, the length of the walking beat was cut down considerably.
Then as now, the purchase was open to bid and Bill Rocket of Ayro Garage was low bidder. The canvas top on this car rotted out after a while and during the winter of 1931 patrols were made without a top on the vehicle. The next car was a 1932 four cylinder Ford, followed by a 1934 eight cylinder Ford, considered to be a really hot car in those days.
Previous to the acquisition of cars by the department, Joe Manning's taxis were pressed into service when a prisoner had to be hauled in.
1932 The motion picture "20th Century" was made in Mount Kisco.
The first meeting in the Masonic Temple on Carpenter Avenue was held.
The year 1932 was one of the depression years. The welfare officer reported many families without food on Thanksgiving Day.
In early 1932, Mount Kisco took a step forward when it hooked up to the Westchester County Police teletype network and on October 21, 1932, police headquarters was moved across the street to 104 Main Street. In later years, the old headquarters building was razed and the Mutual Fire Company building erected at the site. (The building cost was one hundred fifty thousand dollars.)
June 1, 1932 Police caught a large monkey that escaped from a circus appearing in town.
1933 The new Village jail was called one of the best equipped in the state.
September: Officer Frank Whalen made a dash on his motorcycle with serum from Grasslands Hospital to save a man's life.
September: A murder and kidnap gang, including a woman with a machine gun and arsenal, was arrested at a hide-out on Kisco Avenue.
November: Two gangsters were found slain at Green Lane.
1936 January: Stan E. Anderson was appointed Judge.
April: Paul Regan, New Castle Justice, is appointed Acting Judge in Mount Kisco.
October: J. Edward Johnson was named Acting Chief of Police.
December: Post office was moved from Kisco Avenue and Hillside Avenue, to a new building on Main Street.

A few of the more interesting new rules for police effective April 1, 1937 were:
#24. A patrolman on post will see that traffic stanchions are in their proper places and the lamps are lighted at night.
#41. To summons aid in ordinary cases, a member of the force will give three or more blasts upon his whistle or three or more raps with his baton. In an extreme emergency, he may discharge his revolver or pistol in the air.
#49. A commanding officer will excuse all members of the force on patrol forty-five minutes for meals.
May 26, 1937 Walter Reynolds was promoted from Patrolman to Chief of Police.
1937 Walter Reynolds was promoted from Patrolman to Chief of Police.
1938 September: Police discovered a huge marijuana crop growing in Mount Kisco. On October 31, a man was fined five hundred dollars for possession.
November: Officer John Best averted a serious railroad crash by pushing a stalled car off the tracks at the Main Street crossing.
1939 Scores of people were injured as rival unions battled over aqueduct work in Bedford Hills and Goldens Bridge. Mount Kisco police borrowed "hard hats" from the construction workers and helped the Bedford Police quell the conflict.
1940 New York law closed the local pension systems and since that time, all new members of the police department have had to join the State Retirement System.
1945 Mount Kisco's population grew to five thousand nine hundred and forty-one.
October: John F. Reed was appointed Judge.
1946 Patrolman Frank Whalen was made the first Detective.
1947 John Cregier was appointed Chief of Police.
The department grew to a Chief and eleven men.
Enactment of the Condon-Waldin Law forbidding strikes by public employees.
Mount Kisco's hires their first officer of Italian descent, Flavio Benini, who went on to retire in 1972.
1949 Half of the Mount Kisco Police Department went to Peekskill to help prevent disorder at a communist rally.
The police department received its first radio.
November: Patrolman William Moran, when off duty, was struck by a car while crossing Main Street at Kisco Avenue. A few days later, he died as a result of the injuries.
1950 The Chief's salary was four thousand five hundred and sixty dollars annually. Patrolmen earned three thousand seven hundred dollars per year.
April: After working forty-eight hours a week for several years, the department went to a forty-two hour weekly schedule. Several years later, it went to forty hours.
November: All officers were called in due to a large storm. Many trees were down and lines were scattered across streets everywhere.
1953 Mount Kisco Police Department installed an electric speed clock.
1954 The department grew to a Chief and thirteen men.
April: Henry Adams became Judge.
July: The Village's five hundred and fifty-one parking meters were paid off. The gross charge was thirty-seven thousand eight hundred twenty-two dollars and eighty cents.
September: Patrolman Salvatore Rosafort was killed on duty while riding a motorcycle. As a result, the Village banned the use of two wheeled motorcycles.
September: Emergency oxygen inhalators were installed in all police cars.
1955 William Banks became Judge.
1957 The department now grew to a Chief and fourteen men.
December: The members of the police force became eligible through the passage of new laws for Social Security benefits.
1959 February: A new switch board was installed at police headquarters.
October: The police desk received first "UFO" sighting call. It turned out to be a forerunner of Echo 1, now in orbit.
November: Date of most tragic auto accident in Mount Kisco's history. Three mothers and a teenager died in a head on crash in front of what is now Friendly's. Three other mothers were critically injured. One of the vehicles was estimated at traveling over ninety miles per hour.
1960 Under a new law, Patrolman Jerome Herlihy was the first Mount Kisco Police Officer to attend a police training school. The new law was a step in the right direction compared with the previous method of giving a new man a shield and a gun, and putting him to work as a police officer with no formal training whatsoever.
1962 The compliment of the department now became a Chief and fifteen men.
The Chief's salary rose to seven thousand eight hundred and seventy dollars.
The Sergeant's was six thousand eight hundred seventy dollars.
The Patrolmen's rose to six thousand three hundred dollars.
February: Vincent T. Cerbone was appointed Judge.
October: The new Family Court came into effect.
1963 A second detective was added.
1968 William J. Nelligan became Chief of Police.
1970 The department grew to a Chief and twenty-three men.
1978 Mt. Kisco became a co-terminus Village-town.
1979 Joseph J. Cerbone was appointed Judge.
1980 Jerome A. Herlihy became Chief of Police.
1983 A triple homicide occurred at the Szechuan Star Restaurant on North Bedford Road.
1984 Metro-North electrified their railroad lines through Mount Kisco.
William J. Nelligan returned as Chief of Police upon Chief Herlihy's retirement.
1985 Anthony J. Pieragostini was appointed Judge.
December: Donna Fotovich was appointed first female officer.
1987 Chief William Nelligan died.
April: Robert E. Martini became Chief of Police.
1989 DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program started at Mount Kisco elementary school with fifty-five students participating.
1990 Henry V. Kensing was appointed Judge.
1992 The Mount Kisco Village court disposed of one thousand seven hundred cases. These included: criminal arrests, civil cases, and vehicle and traffic arrests. The court also processed nineteen thousand three hundred thirty-eight parking tickets and one thousand three hundred fifteen vehicle and traffic moving violations.
1993 Two hundred and forty fifth grade Bedford public schools and Saint Patrick's Parochial school DARE students graduated at a ceremony held at Fox Lane High School.
May: The S.E.T. (Specialized Enforcement Team) was organized.
July: Westchester County put into effect the emergency 911 telephone system.
July: The motorcycle patrol was again instituted.
1995 Lt. Robert J Dagostino is promoted to Chief of Police.  Mayor Roth swore Robert J Dagostino into his new position.
1999 Lt. Jack Wade retires with 30 years of service.  The last retiree of the millennium.
December: The MKPD prepares for the millennium bug.
2000 Sgt. Paul Malagiero retires with 30 years of service.  The first retiree of the MKPD to retire in the millennium.
Sgt. Robert Roach retires with 20 years of service.
2001 October 2001: Mount Kisco Police Department becomes an Accredited Agency. Patricia Reilly is the Mayor and Robert Dagostino is the Chief.
The MKPD assigned 2 mounted bicycle officers to patrol the downtown area for the summer months.
2003 The Police antennae is moved from the lowest point of the Village to the highest point of the Village improving radio transmission drastically.
The MKPD consists of 1 Chief, 3 Lieutenants, 5 Sergeants, 4 Detectives and 21 Police Officers.
2004 November 2005: Mark Farrell is elected judge replacing Joseph Cerbone.
November 2005: Chief Robert J Dagostino along with The PBA of Mount Kisco dedicate a monument to the memory of Salvatore Rosafort who made the ultimate sacrifice while on duty in September 1954.
2005 March 7, 2005 - Sgt. Louis Michael Terlizzi is promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and PO Steven Anderson is promoted to rank of Sergeant.  Mayor Michael Cindrich swore both officers into their new position.
September 2005 - Det Robert Clavie is promoted to rank of Sergeant.  Mayor Michael Cindrich swore Robert Clavie into his new position.
November 2005: John J. Donohue is elected judge replacing Hank Kensing.
Sgt Donna Fotovich, MKPD's first female officer, retires with 20 years of service.
2006 Lt. Louis M Terlizzi is promoted to Acting Chief of Police in the absence of Chief Robert J Dagostino.
June 2006: Chief Robert J Dagostino retires with 28 years of service.
2007 September 2007 - Sergeant Steven J Anderson is promoted to the rank of Chief and Patrol Officers Cary Robinson and Pat Costanzo are promoted to rank of Sergeant.  Mayor Michael Cindrich swore all officers into their new position.