History of the Police Department


In 1911 through its first town Charter, Palm Beach created the office of town Marshal. Joseph Borman was elected to the office and the first appropriation of the town "Aldermen" was $1 for a "proper marshal's badge." Prior to his election as Marshal, Borman was occasionally employed by Capt. Dimick, the first Mayor of Palm Beach. In addition to his duties as chief law enforcement officer, Chief Borman also served as tax collector, tax assessor, fire chief, voter registrar, code enforcement officer and building official, mosquito control officer, and secretary of the town Caucus.

Borman, known as "Mr. Palm Beach", served the town from 1911 until his retirement in 1946. Borman became the first police chief when the Palm Beach Police Department was formed on October 17, 1922. Chief Borman's responsibilities included patrolling from Singer Island to the Lantana Inlet on his own bicycle. He was paid $75 a month in season and $25 a month in the summer. In 1913 two deputy marshals were appointed with others being added as population and crime increased.

Chief of Police

Nicholas P. Caristo currently serves as the Chief of Police.

Early Days of Interest

  • 1911 - Society baseball games were held each year until the beginning of WWII. The New York "Police" vs. Philadelphia "Convicts", wearing appropriate uniforms, played on a field located at the present site of The Breakers tennis courts with Palm Beach Police officers playing on both sides. The games benefited the Palm Beach Police Pension Fund beginning in the 1920's. Members of the social register played on their respective home teams with the whole of Palm Beach watching. Players of note included Woolworth Donahue, E. F. Hutton and Walter P. Chrysler. Players in later years included heavyweight champ Gene Tunney and stage star Georgie Jessel.
  • 1913 - Theft of sand from the beach used for fill on the Lake Worth side was a significant problem. Fences were erected at the ends of most east-west streets to remedy the situation.
  • 1917  - The town bought the first motorcycle (referred to as a motorized bicycle) for law enforcement use.
  • 1921 - The town bought the first police car, an Essex, for $1,700.
  • 1924 - Eight police call boxes were installed in town.
  • 1924  - A police substation was established on Royal Palm Way.
  • 1924 - The first Harley Davidson motorcycle was purchased for police use.
  • 1924 - Police officers worked seven days a week and lived in barracks above the fire station.
  • 1926 - Moved into police station and jail located at the current town Hall.
  • 1926 - First written Rules and Regulations were published.
  • 1927 - Last recorded accident of a car hitting a mule in Palm Beach; the mule died.
  • 1928 - A devastating hurricane struck the area. Martial Law was declared and 171 members of the National Guard patrolled Palm Beach. Other assistance included 15 volunteers from the Daytona Beach Police Department who were sworn in as special officers.
  • 1933 - A Palm Beach resident donated a short wave radio with which the Palm Beach Police also dispatched for the West Palm Beach Police. WWII Years Military Police patrolled Palm Beach along with Palm Beach Police officers, as the town was a major rest and relaxation point for servicemen.
  • 1947 - Martial law was declared in Palm Beach after a hurricane caused great damage. The National Guard was again deployed in Palm Beach.


NameTitleDates Served
Nicholas P. Caristo
Chief2019 - Present
Kirk W. Blouin Director of Public Safety2009 - 2018
Michael S. ReiterChief2001 - 2009
Frank A. Croft Chief1998 - 2001
Joseph L. TerlizzeseChief1978 - 1998
Joseph M. GaffneyChief1975 - 1978
Fred MeadChief1967 - 1975
Homer Large Chief1959 - 1967
Eddie LongoChief1946 - 1959
Joseph Borman Marshal1911 - 1946