Rochester Police Department
Major Crimes Unit


In 1873, in reaction to a belief that serious crimes had increased, the Department started a detective division.  Records indicate that in 1874 there were 5 detectives and 8 in 1875.  In February 1887, John C. Hayden became the first Director of the Detective Division. 

At the start of the 20th century, police operations were decentralized and nearly all investigative resources were assigned to 7 precincts.

In 1928, some precinct detectives were reassigned to a Central Detective Bureau.

On November 12, 1931, Detective Victor Woodhead was fatally shot while attempting to apprehend a burglar inside the Stillson Street ramp garage. On November 17, 1932, Detective Woodhead died as a result of the wound he receive.

In early 1962, the Detective Bureau was reorganized and 23 detectives were reassigned to regular patrol duty. The remaining detectives were reorganized into squads of specialties including a Violent Crimes Squad, Moral Squad & a Technical Service Squad.  This Bureau is the pre-cursor to the current Central Investigations Section.

In 1965, the Detective Division was further reorganized into four sections specializing in physical crimes against persons, crimes against property, juvenile crimes, and vice offenses. In 1975, in conjunction with a Department reorganization the Central Investigations Division was reorganized into 7 sections: Physical Crimes, Check Squad, Technicians, Crime Analysis, Special Accident Investigations, and License & Warrants.

In 2004, the Central Investigations Division was divided into 4 sections: Major Crimes, Technicians, Licensing, and Family & Victim Services.

In 2018, the Central Investigations Section responsibilities are divided between Major Crimes & Investigative Support.