Chi Pi Sigma Chi Pi Sigma Fraternity - San Jose State University
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Chi Pi Sigma - History

The College Police School and Chi Pi Sigma

Law enforcement in the United States in the early twentieth century was very rudimentary, inefficient and subject to corrupt political influence. Reformists of the era called for the establishment of policing as a profession by isolating the police from political partisanship, and by offering job security and training.

Chi Pi Sigma - College Police School

One of the leading advocates of the institution of police professionalism was August Vollmer, Police Chief of Berkeley, California. Vollmer envisioned the professional police officer as a dedicated crime fighter expertly trained and able to use science and technology to complete his duties. In this pursuit, Vollmer had sought out the resources of the behavioral and physical science departments at the University of California Berkeley. Through his influence the first department of criminology was established at Berkeley. Vollmer, however, desired to have a department that was devoted solely to training police officers and that included police vocational training.

Early in 1930, while at an academic dinner, Vollmer met and shared his vision of a pre-employment police training program with President T.W. Mac Quarrie of the San Jose State Teachers College. Mac Quarrie was enthralled by the idea and went right to work. He appointed George H. Brereton, a former Berkeley Police Officer, to become director of the new program. On October 2, 1930, a two year technical training course for pre-service and in-service police was offered within the Social Science Department at San Jose District Junior College of the San Jose State Teacher's College. This was the first such program in the nation. Students completing the Police Administration Courses were awarded an Associate of Arts degree in police training.

In 1935, under Director William A. Wiltberger, former Chief of Police Evanston, Illinois, the police program was moved to its own department which was named the "Police School". This same year San Jose Teachers College became part of the California state college system and the name was changed to San Jose State College. As a state college the Police School was able to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in policing. A reorganized and expanded curriculum included: speech, gunnery, judo, agility training, criminal law, laws of arrest, law of evidence, police tactics, criminal investigation, ballistics, police photography, chemistry, physics, and military drill.

On October 14, 1935, at approximately 2:00 p.m., seven students of the College Police School convened in a room of the San Jose State College science building. The men were; Donald DeMers, Peter Guerin, Leon Green, A.B. Philpott, Herbert Miller, John Jorgensen, and John (Jack) Harper. Mr. DeMers read a pre-prepared constitution that established Chi Pi Sigma Fraternity. Upon an unanimous vote the first college police fraternity was founded. The purpose of the organization was stated as “To develop a common bond of brotherhood, and to further our educational, professional and social growth.”

Chi Pi Sigma Fraternity

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