The Merrill House, located on the northwest corner of Second and Williams streets, housed the Royal Oak Police Department from 1926 to 1953, according to city documents.

The Merrill House, located on the northwest corner of Second and Williams streets, housed the Royal Oak Police Department from 1926 to 1953, according to city documents.

Photo provided by the Royal Oak Historical Society Museum


Looking back: Royal Oak Police Department

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published January 25, 2021

 The city of Royal Oak completed construction of a garage for the Royal Oak Police Department in 1936.

The city of Royal Oak completed construction of a garage for the Royal Oak Police Department in 1936.

Photos provided by the Royal Oak Historical Society Museum

 A 1954 photograph shows the first full Royal Oak police fleet in front of Matthews-Hargreaves Chevrolet.

A 1954 photograph shows the first full Royal Oak police fleet in front of Matthews-Hargreaves Chevrolet.

Photo provided by the Royal Oak Historical Society Museum

 A photograph shows the construction of the most recent Royal Oak Police Department, which was completed in 1964. Police began moving from that building to a brand new headquarters this month.

A photograph shows the construction of the most recent Royal Oak Police Department, which was completed in 1964. Police began moving from that building to a brand new headquarters this month.

Photo provided by the Royal Oak Historical Society Museum

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ROYAL OAK — The history of the Royal Oak police began in 1918, three years before the village was incorporated as a city, when Philip H. Beauvais officially formed a police department.

The station was located within the fire hall located at Main and Sixth streets, and Beauvais performed the duties of village manager and police chief, according to city documents.

In 1926, the Royal Oak Police Department relocated to the two-story Merrill House, located on the northwest corner of Second and Williams streets. The 47-year-old, wood-framed farmhouse had eight rooms. Jail cells remained at the fire hall for a time and then moved to the basement of the Merrill House.

In 1928, city officials deemed the conditions of the jail cells in the basement of the house to be unsanitary and ordered repairs, including new iron doors, paint, bunk beds and a sheet-metal screen in front of the toilets, according to city documents.

In 1953, the Police Department moved into a 15-room, single-story brick building that formerly housed City Hall at Third and Troy streets. The city also constructed a cellblock and a large garage at the rear of the building.

In 1964, the city constructed a brand-new building to serve as the headquarters of the Police Department, which included a shooting range and cellblocks with sliding metal bars. Until recently, the same building housed both the Police Department and the City Hall.

In 1977, the city remodeled the main desk and communication rooms to improve security and streamline the process of managing prisoners.

In 2016, Plante Moran Cresa analyzed the City Hall, Police Department and parking in the city and reported that the building was undersized in comparison to other stations in southeast Michigan. It also determined that any renovations to the facility would “have limitations and be uneconomical” due to the building’s poor condition and structural framing, according to city documents.

In 2017, the Royal Oak City Commission approved construction plans for the new two-story Police Department located at 450 E. 11 Mile Road.

Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue said the goal is for the new facility to be fully operational by Feb. 1.

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