The Westchester County Parkway Police can be traced back to the spring of 1929 when the Westchester County Park Commission annexed a group of fifteen men from New York City to patrol the newly constructed Bronx River Parkway. Named the Westchester County Park Patrol Force and placed under the command of Superintendent Herman W. Merkel, the agency reported to Park Keeper William J. Byrne. Under these appointments, effective June 1, 1926, patrolmen received an annual salary of $1,900
At its inception, a vast majority of the Parkway Patrol’s work was done via surplus World War I motorcycles. This necessitated the establishment of a full motorcycle service and repair shop under the department’s control. When the force was established, all training was provided. Roughly ten years later, the ability to ride a motorcycle was a prerequisite for employment.
By the early 1940s, the Parkway Police had grown to a total of 94 men. Of that number, 73 men were assigned to uniformed patrol. The Parkway Police serviced the same parkways now patrolled by the Westchester County Police. Additionally, they covered a number of county parks and golf courses. The Parkway Police supplemented their traffic enforcement and motorist assistance activities with aggressive pursuit of violent offenders who used the parkways as a means of escape. On more than one occasion, stick-up men were captured after a high-speed chase and ensuing shootout.
The level of dedication among the Parkway Police was never more apparent than in 1938. At this time, the officers recognized a need for a fully equipped emergency service truck. Their requisition request was denied due to budget constraints, and the officers were told that their request would not be fulfilled in the foreseeable future. The members of the Westchester County Parkway Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (a predecessor to the Department of Public Safety PBA) used their own funds to purchase and equip a state-of-the-art emergency service truck equipped for both rescue and riot control operations. Standard equipment included fire fighting materials, an acetylene torch, picks, shovels, and crowbars. The truck also hauled a tear gas launcher and gas bombs.
In June of 1953, the Parkway Police relocated from their headquarters on Pondfield Road in Bronxville to a new building located adjacent to the Hawthorne Circle. This building would later become the headquarters for the Westchester County Police.