Nampa Police History

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The Nampa Police Department was established as a one-member department in 1891. At that time Nampa was a railroad hub for the Union Pacific Railroad, and the town originally evolved around the railroad. Salary and operational costs for the department were approximately $1,000 annually at that time.

By 1947, Nampa had developed into a quiet farming community, but was still a primary hub for the Union Pacific Railroad, which continued to be a large part of the town’s focus. At that time, the department had grown to 20 employees with an annual budget of $60,000. The work week consisted of seven 12-hour days for male employees and six 12- hour days for female employees. The department had three patrol cars and one motorcycle to patrol and protect 15,000 residents, spread over approximately 8 square miles.

Nampa Police Department occupied the basement of the old City Hall (located next to the new Library) until 1977. The department's second public safety building (located where the new Library is now) opened that year and NPD moved operations from the old City Hall to that building. In 1978 the department grew to 46 employees. The department applied for and received a STEP (traffic) grant in 1979 and six officers were hired, including Carol Rowe, Nampa's first female patrol officer. Six officers were then moved to the STEP team to work traffic full time. The team was disbanded after two years and the officers were absorbed into patrol. The STEP Team was later reinstated due to increasing problems with traffic and has been maintained since.

Between 1970 and 1990, Nampa's population grew from 20,768 to 28,365. The city held its fourth largest ranking in the state during that time. In 1990 the department had increased to 46 sworn personnel and approximately 17 support staff. Only 10 years later in 2000, the population had nearly doubled to 51,687, and moved Nampa to second place in the state, and left the department struggling to keep up with the explosive growth. Population in 2013 was estimated at 86,518.
The department has continued to grow with the community and at present the Nampa Police Department has 113 full-time sworn officers, 2 sworn volunteer reserve officers, 53 civilian personnel and 55 civilian volunteers serving approximately 81,139 residents and 99,000 additional persons in the impact area surrounding Nampa, that conduct business or work in the city. The land area of the city has also expanded to approximately 41 square miles, and the budget has grown from $60,000 in 1947 to 17.025 million for fiscal 2009. The vehicle fleet has grown from four vehicles in 1947 to 152 vehicles and trailers today. Five of those vehicles are motorcycles used in the Traffic Division.

On Oct. 5, 2005, the Nampa Police Department building was renamed and dedicated as the "Hugh Nichols Law Enforcement Building", in honor of Officer Hugh Nichols, who was killed in the line of duty on Oct. 5, 1931. Surviving members of his family were on hand for the ceremony, and his sister was presented with the folded flag from the dedication.

At our peak of growth, and out growing the original Hugh Nichols Public Safety Building located at 211 12th Ave. S., the Nampa Police Department was spread out in eight different buildings throughout the city. The main station was downtown at 211 12th Ave. S. Property crimes investigators were housed in the Public Safety Admin Building at 1103 2nd St. S., sharing space with Nampa Fire Department Administration. There are three substations spread in three different geographical areas in the city. They are the Stampede Substation at 320 Stampede Drive. This substation is a partnership with the Nampa Boys and Girls Club, and houses the School Resource Officers division. The West Substation is at 2112 W. Flamingo. This substation is co-located with the Nampa Fire Department and houses the S.T.E.P. team. The South Substation is at 916 Maple St. It is a partnership with Northwest Nazarene University Security and was used by the patrol division and the Office of Professional Standards. All substations are used by the divisions assigned to them, as well as the on duty area car for that district. The Family Justice Center opened in November of 2005 and it houses Crimes against Persons detectives as well as the Nampa City Prosecutor's Office, victim witness coordinators and medical staff. It is located at 1305 3rd St. S. The Family Justice Center is a collaborative effort of multiple agencies gathered under one roof to benefit victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse.

The old Hugh Nichols public safety building located at 211 12th Ave. S. was remodeled in 1996-1997 and the old 25-bed jail was torn out and that space was converted to office space. The drive-through sally port was converted into a training room and large evidence storage, and large general storage areas in the basement were used to add on to locker rooms or converted to evidence storage. That remodel was projected to extend the life of the current building for 20 years; however the city and department have grown so fast that we dramatically outgrew that building much earlier than was projected in 1996 when the remodel was started.

The City of Nampa obtained the property at 820 2nd St. S., where the old Deseret Inn stood for many years, for the construction of a new Hugh Nichols Public Safety Building. That building was completed in January of 2012, and Nampa Police moved into its new home the last week of January 2012. The new building is far larger than the old facility, projected to handle 30-50 years of growth. With the new available space, we were able to move property crimes detectives, community service officers, Office of Professional Standards staff, and the training department and staff back into the main facility. The substations will still be maintained for ease of access for the public in their areas, as well as for use by the area cars working those patrol areas. The school resource officers and STEP team will also continue to work out of their substations. Person crimes detectives will also remain at the Family Justice Center, in the continuing effort to provide a one stop location providing all necessary services for victims of domestic violence.

Throughout its history thus far, NPD has been led by 25 recorded Chiefs of Police. The first established Chief in 1901 was John Barry. The longest serving Chiefs were Buster Baker, from 1958-1978 and Marshall Brisbin, serving 1982 to 2000. Chief Brisbin was followed by Chief Creech, whose service was cut short when he was killed in a plane crash in 2002.

The department is currently led by Chief Joe Huff, who was sworn in as Chief November of 2015. He has served with NPD since 1993.

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