Buckingham Police Department History
Buckingham is the largest township in Bucks County, covering 33 square miles. Its geography is dominated by Buckingham Mountain which rises to a height of 520 feet, but its landscape is characterized by a gently rolling countryside. Blessed by many streams and rich soil, it has yielded bountiful harvests for over 300 years.
The Buckingham Township Police Department founded in July 1952 as a part-time agency headed by resident Carl Schmieg. In July of 1972 the Township hired a full-time police chief in James J McBride. In March of 1973 the department itself went to a full-time police agency serving approximately 5500 residents.
In January of 1989 neighboring Wrightstown Township contracted with Buckingham to provided police coverage. This agreement remained in effect until the end of 2012. The department had a surge of hiring resulting in 22 officers covering all 43 square miles of Buckingham and Wrightstown Townships.
In 2003 the department joined the Central Bucks Special Response Team (SWAT) and subsequently this team merged with the Northern Team covering the upper half of Bucks County as its primary response area.
In 2004 the department joined the Bucks County Major Incident Response Team (MIRT) which had officers specially trained in civil disobedience, environmental hazards, large scale security events, allowing for a large response team, similarly trained together and available to assist any agency. This Team has responded to assist requests in Southeast Pa and New Jersey.
Buckingham Township was named one of the “Safest Cities” in 2015. Today its 21 member police department covers the 33 square miles with a population over 21,000 residents. Buckingham Township promotes the preservation of land and constantly strives to maintain the township’s rural history.
Today the Buckingham Police Department has a Detective Bureau and a designated Highway Unit. The detectives handle a variety of investigations that require specialized training. The Highway Unit not only reconstructs and investigates accidents, but they are tasked with making the roadways safer. They conduct traffic studies, traffic enforcement, and do a variety of highway safety education.
Buckingham Police Department has officers that are assigned to the Central Bucks Motor Carrier Safety Unit, SWAT, Crisis Negotiations, and DARE. Officers provide Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) programs in the elementary and middle schools.
From January 1978 until his retirement in 2015 Chief Steven P Daniels lead the Buckingham Police Department. During that time his officers developed a deep relationship with the residents that continues today. Buckingham Police Officers engage their residents and partner with them to solve problems throughout the Township. A lengthy search for Chief Daniels’ replacement resulted in the selection of Michael Gallagher, a veteran law enforcement officer from a neighboring county. Chief Gallagher assumed his duties as Chief of Police on January 9, 2017. He recognized the relationship between the residents and their police department, and continues to promote community policing as a foundation of the department.