The area that is now known as the City of Hampton was originally occupied by the Kecoughtan Indians. In 1610 the area was occupied by settlers. During the Civil War, Hampton was burned by Confederate troops to prevent it from being used by the advancing Federal Army. On August 7, 1861, Colonel John Bankhead Magruder of the Confederate Army gave orders to burn Hampton. All the formal records were lost in the fires that consumed the city.
The Town of Hampton was incorporated as a town of the second class on May 26, 1887. The earliest accounts of Hampton's police force are found in the "Town Ordinances" of 1888. At that time the mayor served as "ex-officio Chief of Police." However, law enforcement duties were carried out by the town sergeant who was assisted by four constables. The town sergeant received a $30 per month salary with fees. The constables received a $30 a month salary.
The earliest available City of Hampton Directory is for the year 1896. T. J. Giddings was listed as the town sergeant, J.O. Hicks and Thomas Candy were noted as constables. At this time the entire police force consisted of three people. In 1900, Fred Cunningham was the town sergeant and there were three police officers. In 1903, there were four police officers and in by 1906 the number increased to five.
In 1908 Hampton was incorporated as a city of the second class and the title town sergeant was changed to city sergeant. By 1920, the City of Hampton police force had increased to six officers plus the city sergeant.
The Rest of the Story
Keep reading (PDF) to follow the Hampton Police Department's journey from past to present times.