Chester County was created by William Penn in 1682; and Tredyffrin Township was formed in 1707.
The Township is located approximately 15 miles west of Philadelphia along the eastern border of Chester County, where it adjoins Delaware and Montgomery Counties. The Township's population of 2,926 in 1900 grew to 7,836 by 1945, and to 23,404 by 1976. As of the 2000 Census, Tredyffrin's population is 29,062.
Before 1926 the Township largely relied on the County Sheriff and the District Attorney for police protection, investigations, and jail facility; the State Police in Devon; private detectives; and the neighboring Radnor Police Force. In 1922 the Radnor Police Force numbered 11 officers equipped with three horses, four bicycles, two motorcycles and a patrol wagon.
Strafford also had a police force which comprised of one officer, Lewis Scott, who was appointed in August 1920 by the Strafford Civic Association. He was provided with a bicycle and night headquarters at the Philadelphia and Western Railway Station.
The primary cause of law enforcement problems in the area was the increasing traffic of Packards and Cadillacs; Chandlers and Essexes; and Ford, Buick, Hudson, and Paige touring cars. Injured victims of car accidents were often rescued by passing motorists.
Attempted house thefts and bootlegging also required attention, along with occasional reports of gypsy bands, cross burnings, pickpockets, and an unsolved arsenic poisoning of a public accountant.
In May 1926, citizens of Tredyffrin Township petitioned the Chester County Courts for the appointment of two police officers. The Tredyffrin Township Department of Police came into being when James J. Nugent of the Radnor Police Department and Clarence P. Woodward were appointed to duty beginning June 15, 1926. They were equipped with automobiles and worked out of their homes - Chief Nugent from Strafford and Officer Woodward from Paoli. Headquarters were later established in a private garage and they moved to the Tredyffrin Township building in 1941.
In 1947 round-the-clock police telephone service was instituted by having all police cars equipped with radios that were controlled by the Radio Room of the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office in Norristown. The telephone company arranged for Tredyffrin's Police Department to have a direct line to Norristown, but with a toll-free number - Berwyn 0211. This special phone was answered by the Norristown Radio Room with the words "Tredyffrin Police." No charge was made for this 24-hour, seven day-a-week "hot telephone" system, as Montgomery County could not charge Chester County for the service.
Because of war shortages, no more direct lines were available and, for some years, the residents of Easttown and Willistown townships also used Tredyffrin's radio/telephone system for police emergency calls.
As late as 1951, an officer on the night shift remained at home on-call, with a patrol car. Woodward succeeded Nugent as Chief, and Joseph W. Hohlefelder joined the Department in 1936. The force added its third member in 1944, its tenth in 1955, and grew rapidly in the next 20 years. Succeeding Woodward as Chief of Police were: J. Maurice Lewis 1945-1958; Major Thomas V. Devlin, 1958-1964; Colonel Robert C. Gilroy 1964-1975; Thomas H. Baynard 1975-1991; and Paul Pennypacker 1992-2000; Richard C. Harkness 2000-2008; Andrew W. Chambers 2008-2012; Anthony Giaimo 2012-currently serving.
By 1985, only 18 percent of the total Township land area was available for development and the Route 30 and Route 202 corridors became the focal point for business development. Route 202 continues to serve as the principal arterial route between the western suburbs and Philadelphia (via the Schuylkill Expressway, I-76), making housing and land in Tredyffrin Township a prime commodity.
Because the Township has also developed into a major employment center, traffic generated by these changes in the Township has placed special demands on the Department for traffic control and enforcement. The growth of the community has spawned a parallel in the growth of "community" related crime and calls for service handled by the Department.