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.
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 crimefighter, expertly trained and able to use science and technology to complete his duties. In this pursuit, Vollmer 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 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 Teachers College. This was the first such program such 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 in Evanston, Illinois, the police program was moved to its own department which was named the “Police School”. That 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, the 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’s 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 a unanimous vote, the first college police fraternity was founded. The purpose of the organization as stated was: “To develop a common bond of brotherhood, and to further our educational, professional, and social growth.”
Chi Pi Sigma Fraternity has owned several houses near the San Jose State University campus since 1935. Currently the fraternity owns a house at 230 S. 10th St., San Jose, CA The house is right across the street from San Jose State University. This is a two story house with a partial basement. The house has four bedrooms upstairs and another room on the main floor that can be used as a bedroom. There is one full bathroom upstairs and a partial bathroom on the main floor. Also, on the main floor there is a living room, dining room, and kitchen. Behind the house is an area where residents and members can park their cars. This area is also used to hold outside events. Actives and Alumni can live in the house and the rent is kept low to benefit the students.