Sundance Police Department History
The City of Sundance attempted to incorporate in early 1887, however the Crook County commissioners turned down the application and also the petition for incorporation due to lack of sufficent population in Sundance, this occured on April 8, 1887. The incorporation remained viable and on October 5, 1887 the Crook County commissioners approved a resolution to incorporate the town of Sundance.
An election occured later that month for the first town officials. Fred W. Coates was elected the Marshal on 69 votes as democrat candidate. He assumed office on October 27, 1887.
The newly elected town council then got to work and created the ordinaces outlining the duties and powers of the Marshal. This also allowed Coates to also become the ex-officio Fire warden and the Street Commissioner. The ordinance passed by the council, it is noted the Marshal was to be the Chief of Police and outlined the authority of Police Officers employed by the town of Sundance. Under a different ordinance the Marshal was required to post a 300 dollars bond and received a salary of only 75 dollars per month.
The Marshal under the ordinances was also allowed to put prisoners to work, "hard labor", on projects benefiting the Town of Sundance.
"The Sundance Kid"
The Sundance name has become internationally known by the crimes and adventures of Harry Longabaugh aka "The Sundance kid". Longabaugh worked in the area in his late teens, and during his stay he stole a horse with saddle and a revolver. He fled the area and was later captured in Miles City, Mt. He then was transported back with Sheriff James Ryan going east by train where he later escaped custody from Sheriff Ryan in Duluth, Minnesota. Longabaugh again fled back to Miles City. He was again captured by Miles City law enforcement.
Longabaugh was being held in the Custer County jail in Miles City, where he attempted to escape again and was then stopped at gunpoint by a Deputy Davis. He was then soon after turned over again to Sheriff James Ryan and within 3 days he was brought back to Sundance on a buckboard wagon traveling the Deadwood Stage route.
He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to 18 months hard labor which he served at the Crook County Jail in Sundance. Longabaugh was later pardoned by the Wyoming Territorial Governor upon completion of the imposed sentence. This however did not curb his desires nor did it reform him and he continued with his life of crime. He was then nicknamed by some as "The Sundance Kid" and it stuck. His history with Butch Cassidy and the "Hole in the Wall Gang" cemented the name in the annals of western history.
From more history on "The Sundance Kid" visit or contact the Crook County Museum
at 307-283-3666. Many of the legal documents relevant the "Kid" are available and on display.
Sundance is also the tourist destination for many travelers enroute to the Black Hills of South Dakota, Devil's Tower near Hulett, Wy, as well as the eastern entrance of the state of Wyoming via I-90.
Sundance is the county seat of Crook County.
The Sheriff department investigates all crimes, whether they are Wyoming Statutes i.e felony/misdemeanor or crimes or violations of city ordinance.
The Crook County Sheriff Department also does many of the following;
- conducts traffic enforcement
- investigates motor vehicle accidents/collisions
- patrols school zones
- utilize surveillance equipment for investigating crimes within businesses, schools, and homes.
- patrols of downtown area
- patrols of residential areas
- patrols industrial areas of town
- House watches for residents
- The Sheriff Department assists other agencies in the area with investigations, traffic enforcement, probation and parole, EMS and Fire department calls, among many other things.
- We also follow the resolutions and/or directives that may be deemed necessary or directed by City Council in emergencies that may required.