Cranford History

Police History

In 1997, the Cranford Police Department formed a Centennial Book Committee comprised of members of the Department and including members of the Historical Society.  They painstakingly researched the history of the law enforcement organizations throughout Cranford’s history and compiled a 192 page book.  This book is available through both the Cranford Public Library and at the Historical Society.

Police History – Cranford Public Library

The interesting story begins in the mid- 1800’s, when crime was on the rise even in a small town like Cranford.  Before the town was officially incorporated a small group of concerned men gathered together to form the Cranford Thief Detecting Society.    This organization helped “enforce the law and preserved the order” according to the Police History, and it existed for twenty years from 1869 through 1889.

The Police History includes many photographs of artifacts of the Thief Detecting Society, the buildings, the early badges, patches and various technologies used by the Police force in later years.


What is very significant about the Police History is the important research about Cranford’s Constable Joshua Bryant.  In 1881, Mr. Bryant was elected constable and became the first African-American to hold public office in Cranford, and was re-eleced three times to this position.  Sadly, he died at a fairly young age, 46, but had spent twenty-five years living and working in Cranford.  He was buried in an unmarked grave at the Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, New Jersey; on May 26, 1996 a ceremony was held in his memory and a marker placed at his grave at long last to pay tribute to his fine service to the community of Cranford.

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