City of San Luis Obispo Police Department Ledgers

Finding aid created by Special Collections and Archives staff using RecordEXPRESS
California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo. Special Collections and Archives
Robert E. Kennedy Library, Rm 409
San Luis Obispo, California 93407
(805) 756-2305
archives@calpoly.edu
http://www.lib.calpoly.edu/specialcollections
2019


Descriptive Summary

Title: City of San Luis Obispo Police Department Ledgers
Dates: 1881 - 1978
Collection Number: MS0188
Creator/Collector: San Luis Obispo Police Department
Extent: 36 bound ledgers
Online items available
Repository: California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo. Special Collections and Archives
San Luis Obispo, California 93407
Abstract: Records of the City of San Luis Obispo Police Department, including affidavits, letters, summons, and arrest records relating to the Police Courts, Recorder’s Office, and jail of the City of San Luis Obispo.
Language of Material: English

Access

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Publication Rights

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Preferred Citation

City of San Luis Obispo Police Department Ledgers. California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo. Special Collections and Archives

Acquisition Information

Gift.

Biography/Administrative History

San Luis Obispo was formally recognized as a township in the State of California by a legislative act in February 1856. Since 1852 county law enforcement officers, including a Sheriff and County Judge, had been appointed bi-annually as the township experienced a slow transition from Spanish-Mexican law and traditional Western-settler customs to the newly adopted state and county procedures. Law administration, previously afforded by Spanish-Mexican law, by settler community consensus, and by groups known as “vigilance committees” (self-appointed enforcement committees) was still widely practiced throughout the state during the transition. Between 1856 and 1876 local practice shifted to officially elected and appointed law enforcement positions per California State and Federal procedures. The new roles included a Justice of the Peace, Marshal, Sheriff, Police Judge, Night Watchman, and Constables. In March of 1876 the town was officially incorporated as the City of San Luis Obispo and soon after City Council approved an ordinance creating the Board of Police Commissioners (May 15, 1876). The Board, consisting of the Mayor, Police Judge, and City Marshal, was responsible for appointing and governing a small police force consisting of a marshal and two officers. The first official Police Department was established with City Ordinance 31 approved on 1 November 1877. Ordinance Number 5, which had established the Board the year before, was repealed and superceded. The new ordinance included, among other changes, a statement in Section 6 requiring the marshal to “keep a register of arrests” detailing the suspect, the accused crime, and the location of the incident.

Scope and Content of Collection

The City of San Luis Obispo Police Department Ledgers collection contains the court dockets, arrest records, jail records, complaints and affidavits occurring in the City of San Luis Obispo. The records reflect the years of 1881 to 1978 and in many cases contain the names of the arresting officers, the accused, the plaintiffs, and judges. Records also reflect sentencing as assigned by the court.

Indexing Terms

San Luis Obispo Police Department
Law Enforcement
San Luis Obispo Police Department
San Luis Obispo
Ledgers
Manuscript
Sheriff Justice of the Peace Constable

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