History of the Auburn Police Department

Founded in 1793 by John Hardenbergh, incorporated in 1815 and chartered as a city in 1848, Auburn, New York has a long and rich history in the Western New York State region as a civic and cultural leader as well as being the birthplace of numerous national government and industry notables. With a population of just over 27,000 (2010 US Census Data) Auburn, New York is well below both state and federal crime rates*, a fact that we are proud of and both our sworn and civilian police department representatives work tirelessly to maintain.


The nearly 200 year history of Auburn, New York includes hundreds of law enforcement officials who have served the growing community and protecting the rights of all who call themselves Auburnites.


Chiefs of Police of City of Auburn, New York

C.W. Jennings, Chief of Police (1879-1882)

Henry D. Crosbie, Chief of Police (1882-1889)

Charles E. MacMaster, Chief of Police (1892-1904)

William C. Bell, Chief of Police (1904-1929)
Appointed under the administration of Thomas Mott Osborne as Chief of Police on February 1, 1904. Served as Chief from 1904 to 1929.

Chester John Bills, Chief of Police (1929-1953)

Served as Police Chief from 1929 to 1953. Bills served in France in 108th Infantry during World War I. Prior to Police Chief, Bills was superintendent of supplies at the Auburn prison.

John F. Tenity, Chief of Police (1953-1959)

Tenity served as Chief of Police from 1953 until 1959. He started out as acting chief after Bills retired, but his position was made permanent by the city manger, Alfred Turner, in August 1953.

John T. Costello, Chief of Police (1959-1988)

Costello served as chief from 1959 to 1988. He graduated from the FBI Academy in Washington, D.C., and served in the U.S. Navy.

John C. Walter, Chief of Police (1988-1991)

Chief from 1988 to 1991. Walter joined the force in November 1970 and became sergeant in April 1974, captain in December 1979, and assistant chief of police on August 5, 1987.

John Ecklund, Chief of Police (1992-1995)

Gary J. Giannotta, Chief of Police (1996-2012)

Chief Giannotta graduated from Auburn High School in 1973 and then the Central New York Police Academy in 1982. He joined the Auburn Police Department in 1981 as a patrol officer, rising quickly through the ranks as a Sergeant, then Captain, and then Chief of Police.

Auburn Police Department Photo History

Enjoy our history of Auburn Police Department photo gallery and contact us if you have information or photography about the Auburn Police Department that you would like to share.

*FBI Uniform Crime Reports, Uniform Crime Report 2010