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. 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 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 payphone 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 the Department's fourth Police Chief. The Department practiced innovation and creativity in the early 1980s when they purchased Cushmans for officers to drive. Cushmans were designed similar to golf carts. The purpose of the Cushmans was to motorize the Walking Beat officers from the 1970s. The Dodge Diplomat and Chevy Malibu were the marquee police vehicles during this period. They also sported a new look as the Department eventually adopted the traditional blue and red visi-bar along with blue and gold reflective striping. The Department also had its own outdoor firearms range, sponsored by the F.O.P. Lodge. The range was accessible via a dirt road and located in a heavily wooded area at 44th Street and Hiatus Road.
In 1981, a 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. This innovative program was particularly beneficial to our many seniors living in Sunrise Lakes. Additionally, the Department took a tough stance on intoxicated drivers during the early 80’s with the purchase of its own B.A.T. (Blood Alcohol Testing) Mobile and "Breathalyzer" machine. This vehicle, similar in size to our current SWAT van, would be driven from location to location throughout the City at the request of officers who had suspected DUI stops.
With the war on drugs in full swing, the City made headline news when drug traffickers, while operating a low flying aircraft during the night with their lights off, dropped a load of cocaine onto a suburban lawn in the western part of the city. Pounds of cocaine was everywhere. The mid-80s was a transition period for the Department. After having briefly disbanded the original V.I.N. Unit, Chief Ramputi quickly re-established the Unit as a result of our most recent cocaine invasion.
As Chief Ramputi exited, so did the ranks of Patrolman first class (one stripe), and Corporal (two stripes). Also, all previous specialized units except Traffic, Vice-Intelligence-Narcotics (V.I.N) Unit and Honor Guard were eliminated.
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 was 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 activities relating to the mission of the Department. During this 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.
2007 - 2018
Chief Brooks became the seventh Police Chief of the Sunrise Police Department in 2007. He moved the agency forward to renew its accreditation and paved the way for city-issued Glock handguns and .223 caliber rifles. During his command, he also introduced Tasers to complement the Department’s existing less-lethal options. Chief Brooks further the agency success by incorporating the latest technology and software programs to assist in surveillance, criminal investigations and community policing. Chief Brooks modernized the departments records management with a fully automated solution that improved the effectiveness of storing and retrieving data to better serve the City residents. Chief Brooks worked side by side with the City Commissioners and City Manager to construct our new Public Safety Building as the new home for the men and women of the Sunrise Police Department.