Police History

Peter Schuyler established a trading post at Indian Landing in a log building he named Fort Schuyler. A replica of the fort was built in Ellison Park near the original site and is displayed on the Brighton Police patch.

Police Badge
The earliest roots of the Brighton Police Department can be found in the minutes of the first Town Meeting in April 1814. Two Town Constables were appointed by Oliver Culver after he was elected as Brighton’s first Town Supervisor. The constables were Enos Blossom and David Buck.


Law enforcers for the Town were primarily volunteers until 1907 when the Town Board passed a resolution to purchase a motorcycle and hire an individual to enforce the speed limit on Town roads.

Motorcycles 1934.jpg


Special Deputy C. Fred Sova was a Brighton Town Constable who had volunteered for a special detail to search for an extremely active burglar named Frank Nentarz. On September 7, 1931, Sova and his partner, Special Deputy Cyril Pemberton, captured the prowler, but while walking him to their car, Nentarz pulled out a pistol and shot Deputy Sova, who died the next day. For more information, see Special Deputy Sova's page.

Sova 1931

Vincent Conklin became the first paid full-time police officer, and in 1941 he was appointed as the first Chief of Police for the Town of Brighton.

Chief Conklin.jpg

Chief Conklin posed with his staff in front of the old Town Hall, which was located at 1795 Monroe Avenue. This building now houses a bakery.

On September 21,1951 the Brighton Police Department was taxed to its maximum when 607 homes were destroyed or damaged by the Brighton Gas Explosion Disaster. Controls failed in a low-pressure, natural gas district and set off a series of explosions, which caused three deaths and staggering financial losses in the 12 Corners neighborhoods.

The Brighton Town Hall at 2300 Elmwood Avenue was dedicated in March of this year. Police headquarters were moved from the old Town Hall on Monroe Avenue to the basement of the new Town Hall. Here Chief Conklin and his men pose on the steps of the new Town Hall.

During 1956, the Brighton Police Department answered 3,000 calls for service and traveled 118,000 miles while patrolling the streets of Brighton.


Chief Conklin retired in May of 1957, and 12-year veteran Gordon Snyder was promoted in December to lead the 14-member department.

Chief Snyder.jpg

Chief Snyder died of a heart attack at the age of 45. On January 1, 1960, 18-year veteran Carlton Fitch became the department's third Chief of Police.

Chief Fitch.jpg


The 31 members of the Brighton Police Department answered 7,677 calls for service, and drove more than 250,000 miles in 1965.

Police Car 1960's.jpg
In 1951, the New York State Defense Emergency Act allowed counties to recruit and train citizens to become volunteer Auxiliary Police, to assist with things like crowd and traffic control. The Brighton Auxiliary Police were established in 1958, and concluded their service in 1997 after the county officially abolished the Monroe County Civil Defense Auxiliary Police. This photo shows some BAP members in the 1970's.

Auxiliary Police

After Chief Fitch retired in 1970, 19-year veteran Eugene Shaw became Chief of Police in April of 1971. The department had 37 officers.

Chief Shaw.jpg

The issue of a metropolitan police department heated up. The strongest voices came from towns which had their own police departments. When presented to the voters in 1981, the idea was soundly defeated

A referendum was put to the residents of the Town of Brighton posing the question as to whether or not they would approve a hike in property taxes to build a new Public Safety facility. The issue won by a 3 to 1 margin and construction began on a new building. Here is a picture of the force in 1987.

After 38 years in the basement of the Town Hall, the new Police Department and courts moved into their new facility.

The Brighton Police Department became one of the first Police Departments in the State to receive Accreditation by the New York State Bureau for Municipal Police. Since originally becoming accredited, the Brighton Police Department has made it a priority to meet and exceed all accreditation standards. Annually the department inspects all accreditation requirements and verifies compliance to the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services. Every five years, a team of assessors conducts an audit of the previous five years' worth of documentation. We are happy to report that we have continually been reaccredited since our original accreditation.


Chief Shaw retired, and 21-year veteran Thomas Voelkl became the town's fifth Police Chief.

Chief Voelkl

During 1997, the Brighton Police Department answered more than 33,000 calls for service by its 40 sworn officers.


The Brighton Police Department introduced its first K-9 officer. Pictured is Arik, a German Shepherd from the Czech Republic who began his career in 2000, and retired in January 2009. The department's two K-9 teams were made possible through a generous $280,000 donation from an anonymous Brighton resident.


The Brighton Police Department changed the design on its fleet vehicles.

Pre-2012 Car

The Brighton Police Department's second K-9 member was placed into service in 2001. Falco, a male Belgian Malinois, was born on February 13, 1999. He retired on December 31, 2009.


The Brighton Police Department's Honor Guard, a ceremonial unit, was created.

Honor Guard 2010.jpg

In July, Chief Voelkl retired, and 23-year veteran Mark Henderson was promoted to Chief of Police.

Henderson 030612.JPG


The members of the Brighton Police Department pose on the steps of the Town Hall.

BPD July 2010.jpg

The Brighton Police Department started having this new design placed on vehicles as they are purchased and enter into the fleet.

Car 2013.jpg