Police Department

Mission Statement

Our mission, collectively as a department and as individual officers, is to provide an exemplary level of service and protection to the residents and businesses of the City of Washington and to all those who may visit, work in, or travel through our community.

We will serve the community through professional conduct at all times and the enforcement of criminal and traffic laws without prejudice or bias, with respect for the rights of all people, to assure a safe and secure environment for all.

The City of Washington, through the combined efforts of the residential and business community and our police department, has consistently been one of the safest cities in the entire St. Louis regional area. It is a model community in which to work, reside, worship, and raise a family in a relatively low crime, non-violent environment.

The Washington Police Department consists of a staff of 31 employees. The department is headed by Chief Edward Menefee.

The commissioned police force has grown through the years from just a couple of officers to a current strength of 28 commissioned officers. The force consists of a Chief of Police, Assistant Chief of Police, Administrative Staff, two lieutenants, five sergeants, and nineteen officers serving in a variety of capacities. The department currently operates through the following divisions: Administration, Road Patrol, Detectives, Traffic, D.A.R.E. and the School Resource Officer Program. We also sponsor the Police Explorers and a Reserve Officer Program.

We are heavily committed to the Community Oriented Policing philosophy. The Washington Police Department is a progressive department actively seeking new and better training, technology and equipment to keep up with ever- changing trends in law enforcement.

We finished construction of our new police station and began operations in July, 2006.  It is a state-of-the-art facility of 23,000 square feet that will serve our needs for the next 20-30 years.

Additional information may be obtained by calling (636) 390-1050.

HISTORY OF THE DEPARTMENT (the early years of Washington)

When Washington was incorporated February 15, 1841 a police department was formed according to state law. A Board of Trustees was elected which had the powers to make laws for the policing of the town. The head law enforcement officer was the Constable of the township. The first constable of Washington was Joseph R. Hardin, who was also Collector, Assessor, and Treasurer of the town. He owned a general store and was a school teacher and a ferryman.

In 1846, a city patrol was formed whose main duty was to catch straying or runaway slaves. The patrol captain was William J. Cowherd. The other men in the patrol were David McLean, Daniel Jones, John T. Gregory, William Lay and Gert Goebel.

There was military law in Washington from 1862 to 1866. During the period of the Civil War and some months after the war, the Union Army controlled the town. A Home Guard was formed of which Francis Wilhelmi was the first “Hauptwache,” or Head Guard. Later, he commanded the 17th Infantry Regiment, but the Home Guard continued. Colonel H.C. Eitzen of Washington was the Provost Marshall of a military district which included Franklin County.

In March, 1873 the city began operation under a new charter. The first election under the new charter took place Tuesday, April 8, 1873. Eight councilmen, a collector, assessor, treasurer and marshal were elected.

In addition to the usual disturbances of the peace, the early marshals had to take care of the bums off the railroad trains and loafers at the depot. The marshal and his men were busiest at public events, particularly dances. In June, 1873 ducks and geese running at large in the city were declared a nuisance. They were to be confined and, if not, were to be taken and sold by the marshal.

In June, 1875 the marshal of the city was ordered to devote full attention to his job and was appointed “Public Officer” of the city. As such, he was to receive one dollar a day. At the same time, an ordinance was made prohibiting the running at large of hogs and pigs in the city. A fine of $5.00 per head was levied. All hogs and pigs were to be impounded and sold for the benefit of the city unless the fine was paid within three days.

On July 30, 1877 an ordinance was passed establishing night police. The ordinance stated, “These policemen under command of the mayor may require the assistance of citizens or bystanders, and anyone refusing to assist is to be fined 5 to 50 dollars.” Policemen appointed to the night police had to be citizens of the city and had to be over 21 years of age. The only compensation to such policemen was two dollars a night. My how police work has changed!

From Ralph Gregory’s “A History of Washington”

The administrative staff assigned to this division is responsible for assisting the officers in the performance of their duties. Responsibilities include maintaining all reports that are generated by the police department, including criminal reports, traffic accidents, investigative reports, traffic citations, fingerprint cards, and arrest photos/records.

The staff is also responsible for court clerk duties, receptionist duties, answering telephones, accounts payable, payroll and tasks assigned by the chief of police.

In December of 1999 with the implementation of new technology, the department acquired a new IBM AS400 computer system along with several new software programs, including CAD, a police management package, MOTIS (accident records software), and a court package which has been networked to more than 15 PC’s throughout the police department. The Department is currently in the process of upgrading to an entirely new computer and records system, which will include mobile data terminals and mobile ticketing.

In the past year the support staff has processed 1,688 traffic citations/ordinance violations, 911 arrest records, 523 accident reports, and 3,109 criminal reports.

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Police Chief Ed Menefee is assisted and served by a command staff of one captain, two lieutenants and five sergeants to optimally serve the community of Washington. The staff is assigned in the following manner:

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The Detective Division is a specialized unit of the police department that is responsible for follow-up investigations of crimes against both persons and property, including, but not limited to, homicide, rape, assaults, robbery, burglary, auto theft, child abuse, arson, stealing, fraud and any other investigations assigned by the Chief of Police.

The Detective Division is also responsible for drug and meth-lab investigations, and their clean up.

Through the efforts of its dedicated members, criminals are identified, apprehended and prosecuted. Vital intelligence information is compiled.

Members of the Detective Division are trained in areas such as Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (similar to a lie detector), Arson, narcotics, and crime scene investigations.

For further information, or to contact our detective division, call 636-390-1057.

Members of the Detective Division are identified as follows:


In cooperation with the School District of Washington, we implemented our School Resource Officer Program during the 1999-2000 school year. We have 3 School Resource Officers who work with over 2000 students and staff in the school district. Officer Greg Garret can be found assisting students and staff at the high school. Officer Mindy Schmelz greets students in the halls of the middle school, and Officer David Burke can be found climbing on the playground at our elementary schools.

Our school resource officers possess a skill set unique among both law enforcement and education personnel that enables them to protect the community and the campus while supporting the educational mission. The presence of school resource and DARE officers in our local schools has become an important part of our duty to protect children and staff on campus. Parents and local officials in our community enjoy the relationship with our police as part of a school safety plan. The specialized knowledge they have of the law, local and national crime trends and safety threats, people and places in the community, and the local juvenile-justice system combine to make them critical members of our schools’ policy-making teams.

We’re very proud to say our DARE program reaches over 900 kids at the elementary schools, middle school, and parochial schools in our area, with future plans to host DARE for home schooled children. All 3 of our School Resource Officers teach the DARE program all year round, host spectacular DARE graduations, and participate in many social events around our community. We are always looking for fun and intuitive ways to improve our program with the gracious donations we receive from our amazing community. We use our donations to improve the gifts each DARE graduate receives and allows us to bring in special guests to perform at our graduations. If you’d like to support our local DARE program, please click the link below to make your donation.

The Washington Police Department proudly sponsors Police Explorer Post 2438. This post is an organization made up of boys and girls interested in the field of law enforcement. Their ages range from 14 to 21. A requirement to maintain membership is that while in school, they must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0 (C) in order to stay active with the Explorers.

The Explorers attend regular meetings held once a week on Sunday. They are trained in all aspects of law enforcement by experienced officers from the Washington Police Department and other certified instructors. This includes how to respond to various calls and how to handle different situations. Examples of training include, but are not limited to, accident investigation, burglaries, domestic disputes, traffic stops, and how to safely effect an arrest. Explorers are allowed to ride along with on-duty police officers to gain a first-hand view of the world of police work.

The Explorers are a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America, and each odd-numbered year the St. Louis Area Council sponsors a police academy, which is held at an area University campus specifically for Explorers. This involves further instruction in the area of law enforcement but the instructors come from a variety of agencies, including the F.B.I., Postal Inspectors, St. Louis City and County Police, and various Bomb Squads.

In even-numbered years, Explorers attend a competition conference that is held in various states where they compete against one another in various activities. The Washington Post has traveled and competed against Posts in areas like Washington D.C., Atlanta, Georgia, and Flagstaff, Arizona. Our Post has won many awards at these international competitions and have participated in Opening and Closing ceremonies. The Explorers conduct many work details and fund raisers, such as barbecues, to help with the cost of all these functions.

The Washington Police Explorers assist the Washington Police Department with various details throughout the year, such as traffic direction at parades, counting vehicles and providing other assistance at D.W.I. Checkpoints, and they also work the grounds at our annual Town & Country Fair.

The Washington Police Explorer Post has produced several young men and women that have gone on to become police officers in both military and civilian departments. It is an organization that the City of Washington is extremely proud of.

Interested young men and women may inquire about becoming a member of this fine organization by contacting the Washington Police Department at 301 Jefferson Street, Washington, MO. 63090, (636) 390-1050.

The Washington Police Department has a Police Reserve unit that has become more active in the past few years. The function of a police reserve force is to supplement the regular work force with volunteer personnel who possess the proper state license that regular police officers have.

These volunteer officers apply for the position and must undergo a background check and other scrutiny prior to being accepted as a reserve officer. Once accepted and approved by City Council, they are supplied with all equipment, including uniforms, weapons, etc. They ride along with our officers to supplement our manpower and gain valuable experience. They have minimum requirements they must maintain in order to continue in their capacity as a reserve officer. Reserve officers are counted on to work parades, the annual Town and Country Fair, DWI checkpoints, and many other events that occur during the year.

The Washington Police Reserve unit is a valuable entity and serves our community well.

If you are interested in the Reserve Officer Program you can contact Lt. Mark Lindgren at 636-390-1050 for further information.

Residents who go away on vacation for any length of time may fill out the Resident Out of Town form to notify the police department. This way, our officers know that no one should be there and can check on the property when available. Simply print out the form, fill it out and return it to the police station with the dates you are away.

The Washington Police Department values information on suspicious or criminal activity provided by residents. People who want to take an active role in keeping crime out of their neighborhoods are vital to the department. This online form allows you to report potential problems to the police department.

You have the option to remain anonymous. The police department will not attempt to identify you if you choose to remain anonymous.

Simply provide information that will assist the police in preventing crimes by clicking here. Provide either a phone number or an e-mail address if you would like a response. In addition, you can contact us by phone if you choose. The police department’s tip line is (636) 390-1050. The information you provide will be investigated promptly.

While we will act on this information quickly, please note this is NOT a substitute for calling 9-1-1. If you witness an activity that requires immediate response from the police or other emergency responders, please call 9-1-1.

Thank you for your help in making Washington a safer and better place to live.


From Chief Ed Menefee:


To the fantastic people of the City of Washington community,

Washington is a wonderful place to live.  The volunteer spirit of the community is phenomenal.  The people, services, organizations and businesses within the city work together to make this a great community.  The support the community provides the police department helps to sustain the pride the officers have in serving this community.

The men and women of the Washington Police Department are here to uphold the police motto of “Protect and Serve”.  The Department will be taking more of a direction in serving the community by initiating more activity in community oriented policing; leaning more to the “Serve” part.  Being out in public, interacting and partnering to solve problems or just working together for the better of the community.  We want you to get to know the officers who serve for you.  They are your officers.

The Washington Police Department will continue to be ever vigilant and to do those things necessary to ensure the peace and safety of its citizens.  You have fine men and women who serve in the department; dedicated, professional, knowledgeable and committed to service.  All the officers of the Washington Police Department take pride in the job they do and in serving you, the citizens.

It is ever our mission to “Protect and Serve” you, the citizens of our community.

The City of Washington Police Department is an Equal Opportunity Employer and as such does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, religion, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.