Thursday, May 1, 2014

This Month in Rochester History

Police Chief Sam Howlett at his desk in 1964
Fifty years ago this month, Rochester residents were absorbing the news that police chief Samuel A. Howlett was retiring.  After 29 years on the job in the village of Rochester, Howlett informed the village manager and council that he would retire as of July 1, 1964.

In announcing his retirement, Chief Howlett reminisced that he was hired originally as a "speed cop," and was required to furnish his own vehicle for the job. The village paid him $100 per month and a five-gallon-a-month gasoline allowance.  After a year of chasing speeders, Howlett was promoted to police chief. He had one assistant, who was something of a night watchman for the downtown area.  The chief was expected to work 10 to 12 hours per day, seven days a week, with no vacation time.  If his nighttime "doorknob jiggler" encountered a crime, he called Chief Howlett in from home.

By the time Chief Howlett retired in 1964 to take the position of assistant chief of plant protection at National Twist Drill, the Rochester police department had grown to include seven patrolmen, one detective and four dispatchers.


  1. Sorry to post a general comment here, but I don't see any way to contact the author directly. I ran into this blog a few days ago and am having a great time reading through it. It's a cool resource. Judging from a few comments I think we're of similar age--I'm perhaps a bit younger--and both lived north of downtown.

  2. Private messages to the author may be directed to

  3. Sam was head of security at Crittenton Hospital in the 1970's.