Littleton Police Department History

The Littleton Police Department has been in existence since February 10, 1930. At the Annual Town Meeting, held on that date, the Townspeople appropriated $2,000 for the purpose of hiring the Town’s first full-time Police Officer. John Sergeant , who moved to Littleton from Malden, was appointed the first Chief of Police and provided the Town with public safety services 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Chief Sergeant retired in 1941.

In 1946 the Town hired Donald Leighton as its first night officer. Prior to that year, Leighton worked as a part-time officer in order to give Chief Sergeant relief from his duties. Leighton was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 1953 after working nights for seven years. Leighton eventually became Chief of Police in 1960 and served the citizens of Littleton for a total of 40 years.

During 1955 the Town’s increasing traffic became a topic of concern. That year a citizen’s petition resulted in the Selectmen appointing a Crossing Guard for the Littleton Common. In the next 5 years an additional three Crossing Guards were appointed in order to safeguard the Town’s school children. Today the Town does not utilize Crossing Guards as the school busses make numerous stops along their routes to gather children. Here we are, almost 50 years later, and the vast majority of the Littleton Police Department’s activities are driven by the approximately 160,000 vehicles that travel through our community on a daily basis.

The department began to grow in 1960, when it swelled to three full time officers, which allowed it to provide 24-hour “active” services. A fourth Officer was brought on in 1962, and in 1975 our elder statesman, Lt. Jake Hagan, was hired. Lt. Hagan retired in December of 2002.

Today, the Littleton Police Department is made up of 21 full-time and approximately 13 part-time employees. Chief John M. Kelly heads up the department with Deputy Chief Matthew J. King serving as second in command. Three full-time Patrol Sergeants and one full-time Detective Sergeant are next in the ranking followed by one Detective and nine Police Officers. Current staffing and budget allows for two to three officers per shift. In 2012 the department handled approximately 23,705 calls for service, and has experienced a consistent 12-16 % annual increase in those numbers since 1998.