Chief Manuel Borrego told Examiner yesterday, Tuesday, July 21 he was planning an open house for the public at the Wichita Falls Police Department this fall to help commemorate its 125 anniversary of existence. Borrego has said in the past the department has come a long way just since he’s been there. He said he could recall a time when officers were lucky to have portable radios when they left the station.
Borrego has served the citizens of Wichita Falls for 33 years first as an officer. He also served a tour of duty serving his nation in Afghanistan in a combat zone.
Numbers are one way of showing the growth of the department. When it started in 1890 there was a chief and only four officers, according to the Wichita Falls Police Department website.
The first chief was Charles Bryan who served from 1891 through 1906. That was before World War I and during the latter days of the Old West when Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and the Wild Bunch were roaming through the “hole in the wall” in Wyoming to rob trains. Needless to say, there weren’t any patrol cars back then either.
The longest serving chief was C.C. Bud Daniel who was at the helm for 28 years from 1949-1977. Daniel was the head man right after World War II ended and during the Vietnam War which was actually never declared a “war.” Daniel started the Recruit Training Academy which is still in effect today. WFPD also became a Civil Service Department during his tenure. He also was responsible for placing the first women in the role of police officers.
But it was Chief Curtis Harrelson who was the first to hire women as police officers and train them in the police academy. Harrelson first made his name investigating drug cases before he was elevated to chief. He has become an accomplished pilot.
Other early police chiefs have included R.V. Gwyn from 1906-1916 and Andrew Humphrey from 1916 until 1917.
Recent chiefs include Harrelson from 1977-1997; Jack Schlieper from 1997-1999; Ken Coughlin from 1999-2004; Dennis Bachman from 2004-2012 and Manuel Borrego from 2012-2015.
After resigning as chief Coughlin worked in the real estate business in Wichita Falls for awhile before acccepting the position of police chief of Plainview, Texas. During a recent visit to Wichita Falls Coughlin said he was enjoying heading up the police department in West Texas.
Borrego has been innovative during his three years at the helm introducing new programs and keeping the department on the cutting edge of new developments in law enforcement.