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Historical Timeline of Law and Order in Trenton, Ohio

1843 – Trenton and Miltonville Benevolent Protection Society

October 28th 1843, a lack of sufficient law enforcement had long been a problem to men and women of the early days.  It became necessary for small groups to form organizations to prevent thievery, especially of farm animals.  Even the threat of hanging as punishment did not prevent horse stealing to any great extent.  A group of men from Trenton and Miltonville gathered in Trenton and formed the Trenton and Miltonville Benevolent Society, also known as “The Horse Company”. Jeremiah Martson was appointed president and Ezra Potter as secretary. A constitution and by-laws were adopted and meetings held quarterly for 33 years. There were 57 members in this organization.  Around 1850, Sarah Yargus was murdered by her husband on the third floor of the old Michael Pearce (Trenton’s founder) homestead at 1 South Miami St. Mr. Yargus was allowed a bit of freedom from the Butler County Jail by the sheriff and he came to Trenton.  He crept up the outside stairway to the porch on the second floor and then up the inside stairway to the third floor where he murdered his wife just before daybreak and then fled down the stairway.  In 1875 the membership had fallen to 13 to include James Law, a protection fund of $324 was in the treasury, and the membership fee was $3 a year.



1896 – Marshal David L. Huff

On September 21st 1895, David L. Huff’s signature appears on a petition to oppose the incorporation of the village of Trenton.  On July 2 nd 1896, Huff is 1st appointed marshal in the village of Trenton.  Marshall Huff died in 1951.  From this point forward, until funds were available, additional officers of the law were volunteers.  The photograph to the left was provided by the Huff family. 













1897 – Marshal Alva Shafer

In 1882: Shafer’s father, Fredrick Shafer, was a fire watchman on the Elk Creek railroad bridge.  In 1903 Shafer and Herman Goebel built the bell tower atop the 1901 engine house to house the newly purchased fire bell.  In 1925 Shafer also served on the Trenton School Board.



1898 – Marshal Charles Pfaligraf



1902 – Marshal Alva Shafer

In 1902, Shafer serves a second time as Marshal.  In 1907 plans were drawn to build a room on the west side of the engine house, which was the first fire house built in 1901, for a council chamber and a room in the rear for a jail; John Fike, a carpenter and Mayor of the village built the addition in the same year.  In 1909 Shafer played on a Trenton baseball team around this time

1917 – Marshal James Law

In 1843 James Law was appointed as the Village Marshall and was one of the original members of the Trenton and Miltonville Benevolent Protection Society.


1917 – Marshal Albert Young


1917 – Marshal Elijah Evans


1918 – Marshal Albert Young



1920 – Marshal James Law

In 1920 Law is appointed for a second time as Marshal.  On March 18th, Yeggs robbed a bank at 208 State St. in Trenton.  Forty-six dollars and contents of 56 safety deposit boxes were stolen.  



1921 – Marshal John Wendt

The photograph to the left of John Wendt is the only existing data we have found.  This photograph was provided by his family.    




















1922 – Marshal Milton Otto Wehr

In 1926, two men robbed the bank at 208 State St., Trenton of over $3,000 at 12:00 noon; this building was later used as a post office, a store, and today as a barber shop.   Milton Otto Wehr died in 1940.



1927 – Marshall William Weiland



1933 – Marshal Edward Kopp

In 1915 Kopp played in a Trenton band.  After having served many years, Kopp was the last station agent for the Cincinnati & Lake Erie traction line through Trenton when the service ended in 1939.  He died in 1948.




1938 – Marshal/Chief Oscar Monroe “Gibby” Reed

On August 22nd 1938, Reed was appointed Marshal and street commissioner; also a member of the fire department.  On February 9th , 1939, Reed was provided with first uniform worn by peace officer in Trenton. On January 5th 1942, changes in Ohio state law, the title of Marshal was changed to chief of police; his salary was $150 a year; Reed was also appointed by Mayor Harry Stretcher as secretary and treasurer of Trenton Defense Council, a WWII Civilian Defense Corps.

The photographs on the right are the village building and the 1938 Model T Fire Truck used during that era.  The other photo was taken of the front of the same building in 1943.     




1945 – Chief Elmer “Buck” Scheibert

In 1925 Scheibert opened an auto repair garage at 7 thru 9 East Main St.  In 1937 Scheibert moved his auto repair business to the barn behind his house at 205 North Miami St.  In 1977 Elmer Scheibert was the first Ohio Chief to draw social security.  At one time Scheibert was the fire chief for Trenton and he drove a school bus for 24 years.








1946 – Chief Charles Lakes



1949 – Chief Oscar Monroe “Gibby” Reed

In 1949, Reed serves a second time as Chief of Police.  Reed was a member of the Trenton Fishing Club building committee, clubhouse constructed in 1957.  On February 15th 1956 at 2:00 p.m., the first fully equipped police cruiser was delivered from Ross Motors of Middletown, cost $1,808.95.  The photograph to the right displays the cruiser purchased.  Featured in the photo left to right are Chief Oscar Reed, Patrolman Hobert Adams, Village Clerk Simon Ehresman, Councilman Edwin H. Streibeck, Ross Motors Sales Manager Harry E. Bruffey, and President of Ross Motors Robert H. Ross.  The first police radio was installed in the cruiser which was tied in with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.  Up until this time Reed (Ford Cruiser) and his deputy, Hobert Adams, (1946 Chevrolet) had used their personal cars to patrol the streets of Trenton.  Mayor Harry Stretcher took Reed and Adams to Cincinnati to get uniforms of their own.  June 5th, Reed resigned as Chief.  Patrolman Simon Ehresman was on the force. In the photograph on the left Patrolman Hobert Adams accepts the keys from Harry Bruffey.  Village Clerk Simon Ehresman and Councilman Edwin Streibeck pose as well.   

1956 – Chief Hobert “Hobe” Adams

 In 1954 Adams started on the force during the Halloween season to combat pranksters. In January 1955, Hobert Adams was appointed as a new deputy and his salary was $40 a year working part-time.  Adams’ first uniform was made from hand-me-downs from the Middletown Police Division; Trenton village population at that time was between 800 – 900; around this year the 1st National Bank at 130 East State St.  was robbed, it was across the street from today’s bank that relocated in 1960, with commercial buildings in its place.  On June 21st, 1956, Adams was appointed as acting Chief of Police on a 6 months probationary period then officially named Chief.  Two part-time deputies served with Adams, Sergeant Carl Ennis and Arthur Reed.  In 1957, Patrolman Sidney B. Frisby joined the force.  On September 17th, 1959, David Carroll was added to the force, app roved by the village council which increased the force to four. On May 7th, 1960, Paul Halderman sold to village of Trenton part of Lot 125 facing East State St. and adjacent to village property for $5,500.  October 6th, the village council approved a $48,969 contract for a new village building; Roth U. Bertsch of Hamilton was the contractor.  Patrolman Louis Wilder was on the force in the 1960s.

On January 16th, 1965, work on new village building began, located to the rear of old village building; May 24th, the old village building was dismantled.  In 1965 the police department staff consisted of Allen Selby, Lester Bellamy, David Carroll, Robert Adams (Hobe’s brother), John Riouff – auxiliary, Willard Clonch – auxiliary featured below.  The police cruiser on the right was one of the original cruisers purchased by the City.  Below is Hobe Adams in a newer cruiser.


In April of 1970, six officers were called to Oxford to assist in a controlling a Vietnam War protest.  On February 13th, 1971, Trenton becomes a city, and some of the police force became full-time; Patrol Officers at that time included:  Tim Hayes, Eugene Smith, Eugene “Butch” Kelley, & Robert Adams.  In 1977, Adams retired as full-time Chief there were 11 officers on the police force, some part-time and some full-time; Adams’ remained as a  part-time Chief as required by law; Adams had also worked full-time as a crane instructor at ARMCO Steel Corporation for 31 years while serving as Chief.    Additionally, 1978: 1978 – 1985 & 1987 - 1993, Adams served on Trenton City Council; as vice mayor and on several committees during these 15 years.  In 2008, Hobe and his wife still reside in Trenton.  Featured in the below photograph from left to right are; Allen Shelby, Lester Bellamy, David Carroll, Hobert Adams, Robert Adams, John Riouff, and Willard Clonch.    

Patrolman Mike Bar was on the force during Adams’ reign. The Trenton Police Department earned a strong regional reputation, receiving a letter of recognition from Governor James Rhodes.  The Associated Press carried a story chronicling the department’s innovative technique of handling juvenile crime, instead of taking them to juvenile court the parents were offered to come to the station and paddle them with the chief’s wooden paddle.  Adams was once named Trenton’s Citizen of the Year and was the Grand Marshal in the Trenton Family Festival Parade.





1977 – Chief Joe E. Richards

In 1961, Richards began as a dispatcher for the Ohio Highway Patrol in Defiance, Ohio; he then went on to serve with the Butler County Sheriff’s Department.  On September 15th 1971, Richards became a Trenton police officer, sworn in as a lieutenant by Hobe Adams; he was the first full-time officer with the department.  January 1st, 1977 Richards is sworn in as first full-time Chief of Police by Mayor John Madoffori. In 1978, Shirley Ledford was hired as a dispatcher.  In 1979, Officers Jim Valandingham & David Agoston, along with Steve Tannruther & Ron Meadows, organized the Trenton Football Team composed of 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders under the name Edgewood Cougars.

In 1991, six additional uniformed officers (now 17), 4 dispatchers, 1 animal control officer; 3 police vehicles are in use, and extensive changes were made to the village building.  On July 7th, 1996, there was a police department reunion at the Trenton rescue squad building with 25 past and present department employees attending.  Two of the newest officers attending were Mike Gillen & Jim Elliot; others in attendance included officers Timothy Traud, Dave Agoston, Richard Miller (1966-1976), Allan Selby (former  officer), Chief Hobert Adams (1955-1977; former chief).  On July 4th of 2000, Richards retired having been one of the Tri-state’s longest-serving Police Chiefs.


In 1996 the Trenton Police Department had eight members.  Featured in the photograph on the right (from left to right) Blake Brown, Jim Elliott, Tim Traud, Michael Gillen, Joe Richards, Dave Agoston, Danny Green, and Bruce Agee. 


The photo below was taken in 1998.  Four of the emergency services dispatchers included (top row left to right) Diane Puckett, Shirley Ledford (bottom row left to right) Kathy Gustin and Kathy Allen.  The Dispatch Center increased its part-time personnel to four totaling eight in 1999. 

















2000 – Chief Rodney D. Hale


From 1981 – 2000, Hale served with Middletown Police Division as patrol officer, detective, and sergeant.  Hale was elected into the Trenton City Council in 1998.  In June of 2000 Hale resigned from Trenton City Council seat to pursue the position of Police Chief.  Dramatic uniform changes were made to enhance the department image and distinguish it from other area departments.   In 2001 the Trenton Police Division began its first ever bike patrol.  Officers Mike Matala, Mike Gillen, David Rosenfelder, Steve Keist, Joe Zianno, and Jeremy Rose participated in patrolling on bicycles.  Hale retired Joe Richards’ badge number and announced over the radio his retirement to honor the former Chief.  In 2003 the department entered a nationally known best dressed police contest.  The Trenton Police Division was awarded the best dressed division for a police department in a city with fewer than 200 officers.  On October 7th 2006 Hale retired.  The department consisted of 10 officers, and 9 dispatchers five of which were part-time.  The fist canine, Eagle, was utilized by the Trenton Police Department in February 2002.  The handler for Eagle was Officer Mike Matala (shown below).  Eagle was a key public servant during one of Trenton’s largest drug arrests to ever occur.  While conducting a search warrant, Eagle and Officer Matala found methadone and marijuana inside the residence.  The cash in the residence, totaling $368,000.00 was seized as a result.  The money was used for numerous years to purchase multiple police cruisers, equipment, and to fund training that the City could not afford.  Eagle served with the Trenton Police for four years and retired from Trenton service.  Accumulated on the two tables is contraband from the drug bust.  Due to Federal forfeiture laws police agencies can utilize seized property to advance law enforcement efforts against crime.    








The picture on the left is a depiction of the various uniforms worn by officers and dispatchers dependant upon the tasks they perform.  (From left to right) Officer Scot Johnson displays a bike patrol uniform, Officers David Rosenfelder & Raymond Ortiz, Dispatcher Danean Murray, Chief Rod Hale in the dress uniform, Lt. Tim Traud in an Administrative uniform, Officer Joe Zianno, and Officer Michael Gillen in his tactical uniform.

On the right is the first female officer hired by Trenton in November of 2001.


Hale created a rapid response tactical team that trained on a monthly basis.  Highly equipped, their primary job was to respond to high risk situations, to include conducting search warrants, and as a result of their enhanced training they could respond effectively and efficiently.  The team worked in partnership with officers from the Monroe Police Department.  Though the officers gained enhanced knowledge in high risk responses they were not in high demand due to limited call-outs and the team was reduced in 2008.  Two officers from the police department joined with the Butler County Sheriffs Office S.W.A.T. Team and train in partnership with them.  


The Trenton Dispatch Center has been one of the best assets to the Trenton community.  The emergency services the highly trained dispatchers provide are among the best in the profession.   Featured in the photograph below are Dispatchers Joe Stone, Shirley Ledford, Kathy Gustin, and Kathy Allen.  The Trenton Police Dispatch Center is located at 11 E. State Street in the Civic Hall.  In modern day police services specialists are called upon for a variety of reasons to provide enhanced services to the community. The Trenton Police and Fire Dispatch is a 24/7 operation. 


Local clergy have volunteered to assist the police when called upon in crisis situations.  Police Chaplains become an addition to the police department for those experiencing challenging issues.  The photo on the right is Pastor Keith Risner.   






There are times when extending a warm smile in an unconventional way brings a service like no other.  Below is Dispatcher Danean Murray dressing up in a tiger costume to hand out candy to children during Halloween.   While on patrol, Dispatcher Murray would ride with an officer throughout town with a welcoming smile and tasty treats for beggars.  


On the right is the speed trailer donated to the Police Department by Miller Brewing Company in 2001.  The speed trailer is used in a proactive manner to raise awareness of motorists speed with the hope of reducing speed and enhancing safety. 




2007 – Chief Carl A. Ray

On March 16th, 2007, Ray comes from the Loveland Police Division to become Trenton’s Chief of Police.  Ray was the first law enforcement officer with Trenton to graduate from the FBI National Academy, attending the 228th Session.  Ray  graduated from the Police Executive Leadership College and the Southern Police Institute, University of Louisville.     


Ray found the need to have the history of the Trenton Police researched in order to discover its past success, and to enhance pride among those who have, do, and will serve in the future.  Understanding your past is an essential part of predicting and understanding your potential.  It also reveals a deluge of information that defines who we are, and history explains why we do the things we do today.  Initially, it was believed that the Trenton Police only went back to 1896.  But, after thorough research, everyone was excited to see that the Trenton Police actually started in 1843. Ray contends that the Trenton Police are the longest lasting, most successful business in town.      


Below is the team of officers who facilitated the testing process for new police recruits in 2008.  Chief Ray, Officer Baker, Officer Johnson, Sgt. Rosenfelder, Officer Zianno, Officer Morgan, and Lt. Traud.  Two officers were hired from the process, Tim Bushong and Craig Flick.  Both officers were hired to replace two other officers; Sgt. Danny Greene retired and Officer Steve Keist went to the Butler County Sheriffs Office. The entire police staff only includes fourteen officers in 2008. 

The testing process includes submitting an application, taking a written test, and passing a physical agility process.  Other dimensions are included afterward, but below are a few snapshots of the physical process mentioned.  The photo on the right is Tim Bushong, hired in 2008, dragging a 150 lb. mannequin.    











Below a four foot wall is scaled, steps are traversed, and 75 lb. weights are carried in the physical agility testing process.

Candidates compete in the written test below. 









In February of 2007 a 2.0 mil levy was placed on the ballot asking citizens to help add personnel to better respond to the increasing demand for services by the community.   The increase equated to .25 cents per day per property owner, which was comparable to half the cost of a daily news paper.  On the day of the levy a major snow storm struck, a Level 3 Snow Emergency was in affect which restricted commuters to travel unless there was an emergency.   The area was covered with six inches of snow leaving many of the evening commuters stranded on the roadways unable to make it to the polls before they were closed.  Ultimately, the voting turn-out was extremely light.  The levy failed by 142 votes with a total vote of 315 for to 457 against.  Only 11.04 % of voters turned out for the first ever special safety services levy.  There were 7035 registered voters, but only 777 actually voted.  If the levy had passed the police department could have added three more officers, which could have aided in efficiently and effectively address the increasing citizen service demands (See below chart) the city has experienced over the last seven years.  In 2007 among 12 communities, to include Trenton, Monroe, Madison, Middletown, Hamilton, Wayne, Fairfield, Oxford, New Miami, Liberty, West Chester, and Fairfield Twp., Trenton had the second lowest cost of living based on taxation.  Madison came in first.     


The history of citizen service demands reveals interesting data.  In August of 2008 an analysis was conducted on citizen demand for services based on current and past trends.  Though the population has fairly leveled off from 2006-2008 the citizen service demands kept increasing.  There was a 250% increase in citizen’s service demands from 2001-2008, as depicted in the chart below.  In 2007 more than four hundred & fifty 9-1-1 calls were answered by the Police Dispatch. 



















On September 9, 2008 the Trenton Police Division hosted the first Citizens Police Academy (CPA).  The CPA curricula was created and predominately presented by Officer Jeremiah Morgan.  The purpose of the Citizens Police Academy is to enhance dialog between officers and citizen’s, to increase mutual trust, and more importantly to build a stronger partnership with the community.  Doing so helps citizens understand how, what, and why their police department operates the way it does.  While attending the CPA, citizens will learn about community oriented policing, laws of arrest, use of force, criminal investigations, search and seizure, firearms safety, recruiting process, the judicial system, and more over a ten week period.  The CPA is specifically designed to enhance police/community relations in alignment with true community oriented policing.        

The first class consisted of 16 citizens.  Mayor Rhonda Freeze, City Manager John Jones, Chief Carl Ray, and Officer Jeremiah Morgan welcomed the attendees.  Attending the CPA does not make a person a certified police officer; it only makes a participant an informed citizen about the law enforcement profession and a stronger, more well informed partner in the community. 


CPA graduates will be eligible to assist the police department in the future Citizens Volunteer Patrol (CVP) planned for the fall of 2009.  CVP are adult volunteers who work in unison with their community to assist and support law enforcement and the community with the intent to reduce crime.  Citizens who participate in the CVP are not certified police officers.  Generally speaking, CVP are volunteers who donate their time to address community concerns.  In order to be a partner in CVP one must have had CPA training and sign a memorandum of understanding.  The CVP organization is all unpaid volunteers and their assistance parallels the efforts of the Trenton Police Division to police the community.  The CVP is not financially funded by the City of Trenton.


The purpose of the CVP is for assisting the Trenton Police Division with basic operations or functions they may not normally be able to provide such as aiding with Traffic Control during times of need, Vacation Checks, Regular Welfare Checks on Senior or Disabled Persons, Extra Patrol for areas experiencing Vandalism, Graffiti, Loitering, and other non-violent crimes.  The CVP is an enhanced neighborhood watch program.  Citizen’s needs are assessed by the police department in cooperation with community needs.  Then the CVP can be assigned to focus on and address those specific needs.  While CVP volunteers are out in the community they operate in groups of two or more driving their personal vehicles or walk and act as trained observers only.  Once they witness a crime or issue that needs addressed by the police, they call the Trenton Police Communications Center and summon an officer to respond while the CVP observe from a distance and act as good witnesses.   A CVP Coordinator will be elected to be the point of contact for the Trenton Police Division to disseminate orders from the Police Division, and to coordinate activities for the CVP volunteers.   The CVP are governed by a set of rules established by the Trenton Police Division.    

In 2008 the Police Division consisted of:

Chief of Police, Carl A. Ray

Lieutenant Timothy Traud

Sergeant Michael Gillen

Sergeant David Rosenfelder

Sergeant Michael Matala

Detective Blake Brown

Patrol Officers: Bruce Agee, Joseph Zianno, Jeremy Rose, Jamy Baker, Scot Johnson, Jeremiah Morgan, Tim Bushong, & Craig Flick

Administrative Assistant, Chelle Creekbaum

Full-time Police Dispatchers: Kathy Allen, Joe Stone, Jim Montgomery, & Danean Murray

Part-time Police Dispatchers: Dana Taggart, Andrea Bowling, Angie Day, and Erica Scott

Trenton Police Division address: 11 East State St., Trenton, Ohio 45067, Dispatch (513) 988-6341, fax (513) 988-5173, emergencies 9-1-1




-          Butler County Cemetery and Church Records, Volume 1, Mrs. Hazel Stroup, c.1962

-          City of Trenton’s web page, http://www.ci.trenton.oh.us/

-          Edgewood Newspaper

-          Middletown Journal

-          Social Security Death Index

-          Butler County Board of Elections

-          Trenton Ohio 1816-1966 Sesquicentennial Celebration June 11-18, 1966, Souvenir

      Celebration Book, History and Book Committee, text by Edward Keefe, c1966

-          Trenton People, Trenton Places, 175 Years, compiled by Doris L. Page, Marie Johns,   

      JoAnn Howell, Robert D. McIntyre, & Myra Garrett, c1991

-          World Wide Web, various Internet articles


Special Thanks to:

-          Hobert & Bea Adams

-          JoAnn Howell

-          Chief Carl A. Ray

-          Trenton Historical Society

Data Compiled by:

-    J. Larry Helton Jr.