First Police Officer Killed in Line of Duty

HPD Chief William Murphy became the first officer killed in the line of duty on April 1, 1910, when he was shot by former police officer Earl McFarland. Since there were no eyewitnesses who could discredit McFarland’s self-defense claim he was found not guilty of the crime.

Houston Police Go Modern

Also in 1910, the department purchased its first police car. Due to the large number of horses, motorcycles and automobiles, traffic had become dense in the downtown area. This resulted in the formation of the first traffic squad within the city. Officers mounted on both horses and motorcycles worked to slow down speeders.

In 1915 police officers received their first pay raise since 1873. The pay increase of $5 raised monthly salaries to $65. During the same year the workday was shortened from 12 to 8 hours, beginning the three-shift system in the Houston Police Department.

The First Policewoman

Eva Jane Bacher was the first woman hired to the Houston Police Department in 1918. In 1921, Bacher worked in the Police Morale and Safety Squad, making her the first female detective in HPD. Officer Bacher, along with the other detectives in the squad received $5 more per month than patrol officers.