Sunrise Golf Village was established in 1960 by developer Norman Johnson. Billed as a land developer's operation, Mr. Johnson and fellow developer, F.E. Dykstra designed and built an upside-down house (formerly located at 6201 NW 12 Court) to attract prospective property buyers.
On June 22, 1961, the City of Sunrise Golf Village was officially incorporated. That same year Norman Johnson was appointed as the first mayor. The City's population was about 350. The City of Sunrise Golf Village Police Department was established in 1961. Clarence Giles was appointed the Department's first Police Chief from 1961 to 1968. The Department had a complement of three police officers (1-Sergeant and 2-Officers). The first official Sunrise Golf Village Police uniforms were light brown in color. Long sleeve shirts and hats were mandatory. The original patch design was affectionately known as the "mushroom" patch due to its shape.
The original police badge was the five-pointed sunburst design. Police officers carried six-shot revolvers and drove Ford Station Wagons and the Plymouth Fury, which sported a single red emergency bubble light. On January 10, 1967, Sunrise Golf Village, now with a population of approximately 4,300, elected John Lomelo, Jr. as Mayor. Police vehicles were outfitted with emergency equipment such as oxygen tanks, first-aid kits, radios, and public address systems.
Shotguns were added as an authorized optional weapon. Police officers worked twelve-hour shifts at a pay rate of 50 cents an hour; a starting salary of $12,480 a year!
In 1968, Hank Donath (1968-1974) was appointed as the second Police Chief. Chief Donath expanded the Department's personnel to a complement of 18 full-time police officers. Through extensive annexation, the City's population grew to over 7,400.
On March 2, 1971, by referendum, the City shortened its original name by dropping "Golf Village". Additional annexation increased the population to over 15,000, covering 15 square miles. The City's Municipal Complex was located at 1277 Sunset Strip. The site included a newly renovated City Hall (formerly a carpet store); located in an A-frame building and two converted single story homes for the police station. The official police uniforms changed colors from light brown to the traditional navy blue.
On October 1, 1974, after serving two and a half years as Police Captain, Ed Patten (1974-1979) assumed command as the Department's third Police Chief. During this era, the Department had a traditional "desk sergeant". Alongside the desk, was a citizen band (CB) radio, which was monitored by several people who belonged to our CB club. In December 1976 the Department retired the mushroom uniform patch and replaced it with the bi-centennial patch. In an effort to economize during the gas crisis of the 70s the Department purchased Plymouth Volares.
Police vehicles were equipped with a city band radio in order to communicate between cars. Some cars even had computers, which were extremely large. Computers had a keyboard and monitor all in one and they took up the whole front passenger seat. Police reports were simplified during this era as officers would use a pay phone to call in reports to the Records Unit.
The Department also had a wide array of specialized units at the time, such as the K-9, Underwater Search and Rescue Team, Honor Guard, Motorcycle Unit, VIN Unit, Reserve Officer Program, the Juvenile Diversionary Program and the Walking Beat. Walking Beat officers worked solely in the shopping centers. The Department's first SWAT Team was also assembled at this time.
One year after City Hall moved into their new five story building on West Oakland Park Boulevard, the Police Department moved into what was formerly City Hall, 1277 Sunset Strip.
Sam Ramputi (1979-1986) was appointed the Department's fourth Police Chief. In 1981, the Senior Citizen Call-In program was initiated to check on the safety of senior citizens as well as disabled and homebound individuals living in the City. The Department took a tough stance on intoxicated drivers during the early 1980s with the purchase of its own B.A.T. (Blood Alcohol Testing) vehicle and "Breathalyzer" machine.
In 1986, John Soldenwagner (1986-1995) became the fifth Police Chief. Chief Soldenwagner established the Research and Planning Unit. The policies and procedures manual was revised and the Department began preparations for national accreditation. Department uniforms transitioned for the third time, shirt colors were changed to light blue for officers and sergeants, white for lieutenants, captains and sworn members assigned to administration and navy blue for public service aides. The bi-centennial patch was replaced with a non-subdued shield design bearing the state seal.
In 1987, sworn officers were authorized, for the first time, to carry semi-automatic pistols, nunchucks and PR-24 batons. In 1988, our first annual report was completed. In 1989, the City purchased the Health Care America community hospital to house the Police and Fire Departments. The hospital was renovated to become the Public Safety Complex located at 10440 West Oakland Park Boulevard.
In 1990, the Sawgrass Mills Mall opened for business. The Department re-established the S.W.A.T. team in 1991. In 1992, the Gang Unit was created and in 1993 the Crisis Negotiation Unit, Bike Patrol Unit, Special Operations Unit and the Victim Advocate position were introduced. On March 7, 1993, the Department officially moved into the Public Safety Complex.
On November 19, 1994, the Department was officially awarded national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (C.A.L.E.A.)
In October 1995, Chief David Boyett, was appointed the sixth Police Chief (1995-2007). Chief Boyett introduced Department wide Community Oriented Policing. The Office of Community Policing was established to monitor and organize all activity relating to the mission of the Department. During this time period the Department introduced the Citizen's Police Academy, Citizen Volunteer Program, Seniors and Lawmen Together (S.A.L.T.) Committee (part of TRIAD) and the Neighborhood Address Program. Also established were the Telephone Reporting Unit (T.R.U), the Police Explorer Program and the Neighborhood Enforcement Team (N.E.T.). Department uniforms changed back to navy blue shirts for all sworn members and white shirts for public service aides. The police patch changed to the subdued shield bearing the new City seal and our police badge was changed for the first time from the sunburst to the shield design.