The Clovis Police Department

Policing in the City of Clovis was relegated to County Constables until 1927, when Alvin Cole was elected as the first City Marshall. He was the only officer in charge of the area bounded by Sierra, Barstow, Sunnyside and Minnewawa. He did have the help of Louis Milanesi for a few years. Louis was a street-sweeper by day; an officer by night. He switched to the street department for good in the early 1930s.

In 1947, Bruce Spurgeon became Clovis’ first Chief of Police, and was one of the City’s four officers for a population of roughly 2,500. Tan uniforms were the order of the day. Ham Radio Operator and Officer Harry Rohde built the Department’s first radio system in 1956. It worked well in the city, but not for officers pursuing suspects beyond the boundary lines. In 1963, eight years after Thomas Higgason took the reigns as Chief, the Police Department moved in with the Fire Department where the DMV building stands now in downtown Clovis. All 9 employees, including the Department’s first female officer Frances Qualls, were all sworn. And, in order to get maximum use out of the Department’s two patrol cars, officers gave each other door-to-door pick-ups at home. Navy blue uniforms were standard issue.

In the 1960s, the Department began programs for youth like the Explorers and the Police Activities League, or PAL. Animal Control signed on with the Department in 1972. Officers wore light blue uniform shirts. From the DUI team in the early 80s, created to reduce alcohol-related accidents, to the technology of the 90s and beyond, “computer” and “digital” are now the buzz words in the department. Even many crimes are high tech these days. And, trucks are becoming the vehicle of choice for patrol units for some of the officers. Uniforms are, once again, dark blue.

In 2003, police and fire officials moved into a new 70,000 square foot Public Safety facility that features the latest in technology and design. The facility houses fire administration, investigators, inspectors, battalion chiefs, the fire marshal, and other officials, as well as police operations. For the first time, police administration, fire administration, records, dispatch, patrol, youth services, and investigations are all under one roof, affording better communication and service coordination. The communications center features all new equipment — from the top of the 185-foot antennae tower to consoles for the dispatchers.

The Clovis Police Department Patrol Division

Patrol is the most highly visible division of the Police Department. Uniformed Patrol, which includes traffic enforcement, the Reserve Unit, and Community Service Officers, responds to calls for service and represent the police department in their daily contact with the citizens of Clovis. They also deal effectively and appropriately with the criminals they apprehend. Neighborhood Corporals work closely with business and property owners to resolve any problems within the community. The Police Chaplain Program assists our department and victims of crime during traumatic events or in times of grief. The Patrol Division’s effective and proactive approach toward eliminating criminal activity and protecting its citizens has helped create a safe community for the citizens of Clovis.

Department Staffing

Currently staffing the Clovis Police department are 167 full-time employees of which 100 are sworn officers. High morale, fair and equitable wages and benefits make for little turn-over in employment in the department, although there is never a shortage of people eager to join our force. In addition to the full-time officers, there is a reserve program. Citizens representing a wide variety of occupations volunteer for the Reserve Unit, including physicians, teachers and military personnel. Reserves are required to be trained by the state and devote a minimum of 10 hours of service monthly. They help extend the reach of the fulltime officers and in addition to walking patrols, are in squad cars, on motorcycles and on bicycles.

Education and Training

Frequent education and training keep Clovis police officers sharp and ready for the challenges of their work. Training and education topics range from social and police issues to practical training matters, such as firearms and first aid and training for being a first responder, community policing, terrorism and dealing with domestic violence to name just a few.

Police Communications

The Communications Division is the primary answering point for all emergency and non-emergency requests for police and emergency medical assistance in Clovis. 9-1-1 calls in Clovis are received by a dispatcher who asks the questions necessary to determine the nature of the event. Personnel and equipment are assigned based on this dispatcher’s assessment. The dispatcher may continue talking to the caller while emergency units are assigned to the event by another dispatcher. 

Activity in the Clovis Communications Center can vary widely. At times, the Center is quiet with an almost eerie silence. However, more often than not, the Center is busy with phones ringing, printers printing, dispatchers and call takers talking and Emergency personnel being dispatched to calls. Public Safety Dispatchers and Police Service Officers process a steady stream of calls and requests for police and medical services. 

Public Education and Tours 

Public Safety Communications personnel are available to speak to community groups of any size. Some topics for presentation include: “What Happens when I Call 9-1-1.” This presentation is appropriate for any age level. At least 2 weeks notice is appreciated prior to the date of any presentation. If you have any questions or would like more information on any of our educational programs, please contact the Dispatch Supervisor at (559) 324-2800 

Do you belong to a group that would like to visit the 9-1-1 center? The Clovis Police Communications Center regularly schedules tours for groups who would like to see their Communications Center in action. Youth organizations, church groups and schools have scheduled tours of Clovis Police Communication Center. These guided tours  give insight into the operations and importance of the Public Safety Communications Division. While we can schedule tours of any size, we prefer to break them into groups of no more than 20. 

The Clovis Police Department Records Division

The records manager, her full-time staff of five professional staff and several part-time employees are responsible for the more than fifteen thousand police reports that are generated each year. The Records Division is responsible for all crime reports, data entry, typing, property and evidence and many more allocated tasks.

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