The first township constable in Aurora, Sam Miller, began his term in 1903.

Since then, the department has grown to 28 full-time and six part-time police officers, but its history has not been very well documented.

Current chief of police Brian Byard wants to make a display of the history of the police department within the current building on South Aurora Road, but the department has very little information to work with.

Byard said the department found a box of old documents in a filing cabinet, but few of them date back to the earliest days of the department, Byard said. The office is especially looking for information about Sam Miller, the first Aurora constable who later became Aurora’s first village marshall, and Arthur Hall, who succeeded him in 1958.

Byard said piecing together the bits of history the department does have has been difficult.

“It feels like an investigation,” Byard said.

Byard said he also has reached out to the Aurora Historical Society, but the group also has limited information on the history of the police department.

According to an article in the Evening Record and Daily Courier-Tribune dated from 1949, Miller served the community well into his 70s. He told the newspaper at the time that he disliked breaking up “family squabbles ... because as a rule both parties turn on him, and the abused member of the family refuses to prosecute.”

Miller served from 1903 to 1928 alone, and retired in 1941. Miller held an elected position, first as village constable and then as village marshall. Arthur Hall served from 1928 to 1958, later succeeding Miller as village marshall.

According to a Record-Courier story from 1968, Arthur Robitalle became the first police chief on April 1, 1957. The same story says Robitalle, who was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, used his personal car while on duty until later that year, when the village bought a police cruiser.

Fourteen months later, the village authorized another officer, Phil Ockunzzi, who became police chief in 1980.

Byard, who was appointed chief in 2014, said he especially wanted photos of the past chiefs and past officers in their uniforms. He’s hoping that descendants of past police chiefs will be able to donate some photos.

“I think it’s important to keep history alive,” Byard said.

If you have photos or stories to donate to the police department, contact the chief’s office at 330-995-0781. Some Aurora residents have donated photos to the department since this story first ran in the Aurora Advocate on May 1, but the department welcomes more photos and memorabilia.

Contact reporter Eileen McClory at 330-298-1128, emcclory@recordpub.com or @Eileen_McClory.