The History of Sandwich Police Department


Patch - Digital 2011In 1628 John Vincent was elected as the first Constable.  George Allen became the next Constable in 1639.

When Sandwich was fully incorporated as a town at the court of June 1639, the first two deputies were John Vincent and Richard Bourne.  The two deputies commenced a long course of public service.

In 1655 William Bassett was elected a Constable.

In 1837 the town of Sandwich had a trial for the illegal sale of liquor.  Three barrels were seized including gin, rum and cherry rum.  The Constable was ordered to split the barrels and empty the contents into the creek.  This produced great excitement downstream as many men lined the banks.  They were seen taking multiple monstrous drafts.  It was reported that there were, “Many lively souls that night!”

In 1848 there was an absence of a police force.

1860 the Police Chief lead the Fourth of July parade.

1863 Seth O. Ellis was sworn in as Police Officer on June 11, 1863 and was an officer until March 1, 1864.

In 1865 the town of Sandwich voted to build a lockup to house temporary violators for overnight or a few nights.  The lockup was located on River Street.  This building was solidly built with heavy planks both inside and outside.  It had two chimneys and two rooms

In 1880 there was a call to the Governor for extra police to help contain the Italian laborers (who were brought in to work on the Cape Cod Canal) who were left without money or housing when the contractor and straw boss disappeared.  The town provided food for the Italian laborers and they were shipped back to Italy.

In 1906 the Boston Globe warned motorists of a, “Sandwich Auto Trap.”

In 1915 the town voted to discontinue and remove the old town lockup on River Street.

In 1941 Gilbert F. Smith was named the first full-time Police Chief.  He earned an annual salary of $3,700.  He retired in 1955.  The police department was located at his house on Main Street.  A police department and cruiser was also authorized this year.

1948 a second Police Officer was added to the police force.  This was Joseph Milliken.  He worked until 1949.  William A. Winsor was hired to replace Milliken and worked until 1955.

In 1949 William E. Foster was hired.  He became the Chief of Police in 1955 when Gilbert Smith retired.  He earned an annual salary of $3,100 and served until 1967.

02-06-1958 Chief Foster-rec stolen prop Farmsville Rd

In 1955 the first Police Department facility was built.  The building was actually in the Sandwich Fire Department building.  This is where the current Fire Department Headquarters is located.  The Police Department used a small space within this building.  Dispatchers were hired to handle fire and police calls 24/7.

Department Photo

From 1967 to 1970 Arthur Souza served as the Interim Chief of Police.

SPD Cruiser

Chief Whearty

Chief Robert Whearty The Early Years

In 1970 Robert Whearty became Chief of Police.  Chief Whearty had previously served with the Wayland Police Department.

During his tenure the Police Department grew from 9 to 32 Officers, an Officer was assigned to work in the public schools, a new 800 radio system was installed and an E911 system was installed in the Police Station to answer police, fire and EMS emergencies.


Chief Whearty Narcotics Image

Chief Whearty Narcotics Seizure

Chief Whearty Narcotics



The department saw its greatest growth during this time.  He retired from the Sandwich Police Department in 1997.


Chief Whearty Chief Image

Chief Robert Whearty Sandwich Chief of Police 1970-1997





In 1973 the Sandwich Police Station was built next to the Sandwich Fire Station.  This building was built for 9 employees.  This building still serves as the present day Police Station for 35 full-time employees.

From 1997 to 2000 Paul Harrington served as the Interim Chief of Police.

In 2000 Michael Miller was appointed Chief of Police.  He retired in 2009.

In early 2010 Robert Palmeroy served as the Interim Chief of Police.  Chief Palmeroy had previously completed a career with the Plymouth Police Department.


In 2010 Peter N. Wack was appointed Chief of Police.  Chief Wack had previously completed a career with the Connecticut State Police.

Koda 2012 First Narcotics Canine

Koda, First Official Narcotics Canine




In 2012 the first narcotics canine, Koda, was added to the department.  She was assigned to work with Officer Matthew O’Brien.



In 2015 a new Community Service Officer position was created.  Officer Lauren Gilrein was assigned to this new position.

In 2015 a new Detective position was added to the department.  Detective Michael Gumbleton was assigned to this new position.

In 2016 a new Joint Emergency Telecommunications Center was implemented, civilianizing dispatch operations.  The center dispatches and receives all calls for the Sandwich Fire and Police Departments.  The center consists of 9 full-time and several part-time  Emergency Telecommunicators.

In 2018 our second narcotics canine, Tuuka, joined the department.  He was assigned to Corporal Matthew O’Brien.

On June 17th, 2019 our 117 RTE 6A Police Station was closed and our new 255 Cotuit Road station was opened.  The former station was in use for nearly 49 years.

In 2022 Oakley joined the Sandwich Police Department as the third narcotics canine.  She was assigned to Detective Matthew O’Brien.

In October 2022 the Sandwich Police Department official became accredited through the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission.


Skip to content