Upon Williamsport’s incorporation as a city, January 15, 1866 , corresponding changes in government became necessary. Foremost among them was the appointment of a regular police force, which was authorized by an Act of Assembly, March 21, 1867, relating to the Borough and City of Williamsport, Pa.
Prior to the city’s incorporation, the borough’s chief magistrate was a burgess and was policed by the duly elected constable and high constable of each of the wards, whose duty it was to preserve the peace and dignity of the growing town.
The city government organized through the winter and into the spring months of 1866, and Maj. James M. Wood was elected the city’s first mayor in May, 1866. Two bodies of councils were formed and it was decided that a police force of four was sufficient and the first police chief and three officers were sworn in June 4, 1866 , along with Mayor Wood.