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Seguin Police Department History
The Police Department is vital for the security and well being of the citizens within it's city. If a city or community is to be judged as a good place to live, then Seguin can boast. Its Police Department has some of the most highly trained officers of any of the surrounding regions. It is a highly professional group of men and women dedicated to the security of Seguin's citizens. Through their work with youth and adults, clubs and organizations, and the business community, more often than not it is an alert citizen who provides a critical link leading to the apprehension of a law breaker. In 1980 it was a young boy's description of two bank robbers that led to their arrest. The Police Department work is all too often criticized by individuals who feel they have been wronged, when, in fact, a Police Officer strives, even when under the utmost of duress, to be as accommodating as the situation will allow. They too, like the Firemen, face an increasingly complex society fraught with chemicals. But their chemicals are of a different kind - drugs and alcohol. It takes a rare person to face the unexpected each day and maintain a wholesome outlook on life. A short history is in order for these men and women of the Seguin Police Department.
A Sunday insert to the August 23, 1987, edition of the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise provides the best insight into the Police Department. It is used extensively herein to record for posterity what Seguin is doing for its taxpaying citizens.
“The Seguin Police Department's history is relatively young. Nineteen forty-eight has been designated as its beginning, although law enforcement can be traced to 1925 with the elected office of the City Marshal.
Perhaps the best known City Marshal in the twentieth century was Marshal Max "Buck" Bergfeld who served from 1925 until his death in 1972. He cut a handsome figure in Seguin's modern history and probably influenced more young men than he ever realized. Slight of build, chiseled jaw and a knowing look added to the mystique of a lawman.
In 1948 a traffic division was formed that would become the Police Department of today. "W. C. Hoffman, a former Department of Public Safety Trooper, (was) the Supervising Officer." The Gazette-Enterprise continues: The entire force consisted of Hoffman, one full time officer and a part timer, and all business was conducted from a 30x24 inch desk located in the office of the city hall, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on weekends, and all calls came through the Guadalupe County Sheriff's Department, at that time under the leadership of Sheriff Phil Medlin.
In 1949 Leroy Schneider joined the Traffic Division. In 1974, when the Police Department was officially reorganized under the city's Charter Revision, Chief Schneider would become the first and only Seguin Police Department Chief.
In 1950, the Traffic Division moved to a small office on 110 East Elm, site of the new Central Fire Department. During the 1950s the Department remained small, not having more than four in number at any given time. When Leroy Schneider left for military service he was replaced by Charles Ehrhardt. Walter Lampmann, who is now Assistant Chief in charge of administration, joined the Department when Charles Ehrhardt departed.
It was in the 1960s and 1970s that saw some of the greatest expansion in the Department. Under Mayor Joe Burges, in 1960, the Department was moved to the fairgrounds and was housed in a World War II horse cavalry stable which also had once housed a tamale company.
In 1972 the Department moved to its "modern" facilities on North Camp Street. During the tenures of Mayors Winfred Owen and Al Koebig even greater expansion occurred. During Major Koebig's tenure the Police Department "acquired its Camp Street Station," on 410 North Camp. It was during this period of 1966 to 1982 that "the city began providing weapons for its officers, the present car program was initiated, the communications system set up, and radar was introduced."
During this same period Marshal Bergfeld died. His position was filled by Leroy Schneider in a 1973 special election. With Chief Schneider holding two positions, Police Chief and City Marshal, it was only logical that the office of City Marshal be eliminated under the 1971 City Charter Revision.
Under Chief Schneider's leadership and with the support of the City Council the infant 1948 Police Department has grown, during the tenure of Mayor Betty Jean Jones, to "two Assistant Chiefs, 24 Patrolmen, three Sergeants, six Detectives, a Criminal Investigation Division, a Warrant Officer, Parking Meter Patrol, and five Dispatchers. Support Personnel include 10 court and Records Employees and a full-time Maintenance Man.
By the early 1980s the Police Department had outgrown its existing space. So had the Donegan Insurance Agency next door. Through coordination between private enterprise and city government the city purchased the "Old" Donegan Building when the new Donegan Insurance Building was constructed. After completing remodeling to meet Police Department specifications, the Police Department moved into its new home on August 23, 1987.
Heading the Seguin Police Department in 1988 was Leroy Schneider with 39 years experience in the Department. He is assisted by Walter Lampmann in Administration, who like Chief Schneider, is one of the early Traffic Division Personnel. Robert Zoboroski, graduate of the FBI Academy, is Assistant Chief for Operations and has 25 years of experience with the Department.
The Criminal Investigations Division boastsed six seasoned veterans. Four were FBI Academy graduates. Serving in this division are Sergeant Mark Zoboroski, Reno W. Reiley, Mike Rosas, Juan Garcia, James de la Garza, and Jimmy Limmer. All were experienced in a wide range of criminal investigation activities from photography, fingerprinting, firearms instructing, narcotics, to investigative work.
The Patrol Division had twenty-one members on its force. As in the Criminal Investigations Division, the Patrol Division was not only well seasoned with Department personnel, but their training was extensive. Working one of three shifts that kept the department working seven days a week were Sergeants Fred Byrd and Richard Perrill. Between the two Sergeants were a total of 47 years of service in the Seguin Police Department. Sergeant George Alex, Jr., Corporals Harold Burns and Daryl Hunter, and Officers Tarinna Skrzycki, Fred. E. Pfeil, Ray Rodriguez, Carl W. Franzen, Richard P. Thivierge, Billy D. Perkins, David Ellison, Michael D. Watts, Irma P. Chavez, Thomas F. Meeley, and Johnny Kinsfather made up the rest of the division. These men and women held credentials in narcotics, hostage negotiations, special and junior college degrees, sheriff department experience, advanced accident investigation, emergency driving, Doppler Radar operations, and law enforcement training.
Making up the Warrants, Parking and Reserve forces within the Department were ten men. E. C. Turner was the Department's Warrants Officer and had been with the Department for fifteen years. The Parking Meter Patrolman was David M. Flores. Making up the reserves were Jimmy Arce, Scot Lange, Jim Hillin, Romeo Barrera, Albert Barrientos, Jimmy Harless, Bill R. Strain, and Wilbert W. Cook. The reserves are usually unheralded, yet they provided a vital function to the Department in emergency operations and extended duty periods, and when replacements are called upon. Like the regular force they had to be on constant call. Also, their credentials in training were no less professional than the regular force. These men had either served with sheriff departments, had received training at the Police Academy, were in the process of earning a degree in Criminal Justice, were trained in narcotics, hostage negotiations, self-defense, and had attended various colleges to further their skills.
Supporting the force in a very crucial area were the dispatchers who were five in number. The dispatcher's job can be a confusing one to the lay observer due to the constant radio checks, emergencies, accidents, and immediate major crimes. They must maintain an up-to-the-minute ability to locate each of the men and women on duty and know how to contact those who are off duty. Making up the Dispatcher division were Linda M. Nelson, Marilyn Kaye Stewart, Cindy Rangel, Evelyn Hastings, and Anna Muzenchenkoe.
Maxine Harborth was secretary to Robert Zoboroski and the Criminal Investigations Division while Anne L. Dowdy was secretary to Chief Schneider and Assistant Chief Lampmann. Kathryn D. Soefje, Mary Herrera and Shelley Johnston were the Municipal Court Clerks. Betty Mount, Emily Morales, Becky de la Garza, Sunda Rittiman, and Ira Ford served dual functions as combination secretaries and dispatchers. Betty Mount served as secretary and has been with the Department for twenty-one years.
Two new officers to the Department and undergoing training at the Law-Enforcement Academy were Romeo Barrera and Jimmy Harless.
Serving as Municipal Court Judge was Robert T. Ryan, Jr. In reviewing the brief biographies of each of the personnel in the Police Department one observation was made. Each member had outside activities and hobbies ranging from hunting and fishing to gardening, ceramics, farming and community service work. Some were presidents or officers of various civic organizations such as the Elks Lodge, Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, and church groups. This speaks well of the Police Department for they have releases from their stresses and yet contribute towards the betterment of the community. The citizens get to see for themselves just how human the men and women of the Seguin Police Department are.