New York Troopers - History
Preserving the Past for Those Who Follow
 
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THE CREATION

During the early 1900s, a group of prominent New York State citizens calling themselves the Committee for a State Police lobbied the state's legislature to provide protection to law abiding citizens residing in rural areas of the state. Their persistence came to fruition on April 11, 1917, when the Mills-Wells Bill was passed by a single vote creating a Department of State Police. Under Chapter 161 of the Laws of New York, $500,000.00 was appropriated to purchase horses, uniforms, suitable equipment, supplies, pay salaries and select sites for troop headquarters.
 

GEORGE FLETCHER CHANDLER - 1ST SUPERINTENDENT  

The search for a superintendent was brief, when Governor Charles Whitman appointed his long time friend, George Fletcher Chandler to the position which was confirmed by the Senate on May 2, 1917.  Chandler, the son of a Methodist minister was born on December 13, 1872 at Clyde, New York. He attended Syracuse University from 1890 to 1892 and Columbia University School of Medicine graduating in 1895. He enlisted as a lieutenant in the Tenth New York Infantry where he served as assistant surgeon. In 1916, now a Major, he was assigned to duty serving on the Mexican border. He resigned from the State Police on November 23, 1923 returning to the practice of medicine in the Kingston, New York area.    
 
 
George Fletcher Chandler    -    Percy Barbour      1917
Superintendent                          Deputy Superintendent
 

1917 TROOPER REQUIREMENTS 

Applicants were required to be United States Citizens, pass a physical and mental examination, be of good moral character, between age twenty-one and forty, at least five feet-eight inches tall and weigh not less than 140 pounds. He also must have been honorably discharged from the military.
 
On June 11, 1917, 420 applicants from a list of 1592 appeared at the Executive Chamber, Albany, New York to take the written examination for 232 allotted positions. Only 168 passed. A second examination was given on July 2, 1917 to 542 applicants with only 62 passing. Many applicants were eliminated because of no horsemanship experience. Those that passed the written examination were examined for physical defects by Chandler personally. Trooper enlistments were for two year time periods with resignations requiring approval of the Superintendent. Troopers were on call 24 hours a day with an occasional 24 or 48 hour leave after an extended duty. They were given a 2 week winter vacation.  
 
 
CAMP NEWAYO
 
Superintendent Chandler selected the Troop D, First New York Infantry Farm of the National Guard for his trooper training camp. It was centrally located at Manlius, New York, had railroad access, good pastures and water. He aptly named it Camp Newayo in honor of Katherine Mayo and M. Moyca Newell who were instrumental in organizing the Committee for a State Police. Training commenced on June 20, 1917 and continued through September 5, 1917. The original troopers that trained at Camp Newayo are respectfully referred to as, CAMPMEN.
 
Troopers trained and drilled during the day and studied law in the evening.Chandler had purchased 250 untamed horses that after 4 weeks of training, were able to go through military drills & maneuvers on command of the rider. The training day stated at 6:45 am with revillee, then to the stables to feed & care for the horses, breakfast at 730 am with roll call at 8:15 am followed by mounted close order drill. Lunch was from 12:00 noon until 1:15 pm with drill and review until 5:00 pm, when dinner was served. Evenings were spent taking care of equipment and attending classes in law. They were armed with Winchester rifles and .45 caliber Colt revolver.
 

UNIFORM

The color and design were drawn up by Superintendent Chandler.  White traditionally represented right while black represented evil. He selected a neutral gray, a combination of equal parts of black & white to represent neutrality. He selected the color purple for the necktie only because it distinguished troopers from other police departments. The first uniform contracts were awarded to the Russell Uniform Company of New York City. Troopers were measured with 237 uniforms with an extra pair of breeches manufactured. The delivery bill on July 6, 1917 noted an amount due of $3,555.00.  
 
The uniform coat tightly fitted around the waist, then widened to a full flair effect had an open neck showing the gray shirt worn. The breeches had the greatest flair above the knees with a tight fitting waist. Puttees or high laced boots almost to the knee were worn as well as a wide brown leather belt with cartridge pockets. In 1920, black stripes were added to the breeches and coat. The J.B. Stetson Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was chosen to produce the hats. They were a high crowned felt with a single purple band that readily identified the wearer, as a trooper. To maintain uniformity, all uniforms and equipment was provided by the state. The individual only needed to buy his own underwear. The policy still holds true today. A fourteen pound knee length sheepskin coat was issued for winter & foul weather wear.
 
Chandler instituted a policy where the revolver was carried on the outside of the uniform, a first among police departments. He wanted troopers to be able to draw his revolver instantly, if needed. Troopers were issued a 30-30 Winchester rifle, a riding crop and .45 caliber Colt revolver. The rifle was carried in a scabbard from the saddle. The riding crop was later discontinued replaced by the riot stick. Chandler decided against wearing a badge on the uniform opting to utilize a bronze nickel sized collar ornament worn on the shirt collar designating the officer's troop number and troop designation. In 1920, a purple service ribbon with a single silver bar designating a two year time period was issued.  
 
 
ORGANIZATION and TROOP HEADQUARTERS LOCATIONS
 
Chandler's first task was to build a nucleus for the department. His officers were selected from New York National Guard units of the state. They were expert horsemen and diciplinarian's with whom he had served on the Mexican border. This is a list of the original officer appointments and Troop Headquarter locations.
 
Deputy Superintendent - Captain Percy E. Barbour , Twenty-second Engineers
 
Troop A - Dyke skating rink, Batavia, New York
Captain Willis Linn, First New York Ambulance Company
Lieutenant John A. Warner, First New York Cavalry
 
Troop D - Valley House, Onondaga, New York
Captain Hamilton H. Barnes, First New York Cavalry
Lieutenant J.F.S. Meachum, First New York Cavalry
 
Troop G - Flynn Estate, Colonie, New York
Captain Herbert G. Rosboro, First New York Cavalry
Lieutenant Andrew H. Gleason, First New York Cavalry
 
Troop K- Gedney Farms Estate, White Plains, New York
Captain Ray D. Richman, First New York Ambulance Company
Lieutenant Howard Starks, First New York Cavalry  
 
Constabulary Headquarters were located at Room 100, Capitol Building, Albany, New York staffed by the Superintendent , Deputy Superintendent and two stenographers. The initial legislation provided for an allotment of 232 troopers.
 
Each troop consisted of :
 
Captain at $1,800 per year
Lieutenant at $1,500 per year
First Sergeant at $1,200 per year
Four duty Sergeants at $1,100 per year
Four Corporals at $950 per year
One blacksmith at $950 per year
One saddler at $950 per year
Forty five privates at $900 per year
 
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TROOPER UNIFORM DESIGNED BY
CHANDLER IN 1917
 
 
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