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History of the Fortuna Police Department

 

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By: retired Sergeant Steve Rogers

The City of Fortuna was first incorporated in 1906. It is not known if there was a marshal for the Fortuna area prior to 1906, but a newspaper clipping from the Blue Lake Advocate on April 12, 1902 reported a building to be used as a jail would soon be built in Fortuna. The story went on to say, "There must be some unruly characters in their midst to necessitate this move..."

Historical records indicate that J. Davidson was the first marshal and only police officer in Fortuna during its beginnings and that he covered the town on foot.

In the year 1908 Fortuna was protected by three separate marshals: H. Allen Hauson in April 1908, Fred Bauer in May 1908, and finally Bert Baxter in July of 1908. There is no indication of why there was such a turnover in marshals during 1908 and one can only guess. These three marshals were assisted in their duties by Frank Legg who was appointed as a Special Policeman and who was to be appointed marshal in 1920.

It appears that Marshal Baxter served the citizens of Fortuna until 1918 when he was replaced by John Shillington. In 1920 L.F. Crow was appointed marshal evidently replacing Frank Legg. Crow appeared to have served until 1927. Records indicated that in 1922, in addition to being Marshal, Crow was the town night watchman and Plumbing Inspector. His salary for all three jobs was $85 a month. In 1924 the additional responsibility of Superintendent of Streets was added to his job.


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