Salt Lake City Police Seek Historic Photo of Second Chief

Jun 3, 2019, 10:09 PM | Updated: 10:35 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Police were hoping Monday someone might be able to help them solve a long-standing ‘history mystery’ in their department that dates back to the 1850s.

Though Elam Luddington is considered the second chief to ever lead the Salt Lake City Police Department back in 1851, he remains the only chief to date—out of a total of 46—who doesn’t have a photo hanging at police headquarters.

“It just doesn’t stand to reason that there is not a picture out there somewhere,” said Judy Dencker, a retired captain and co-founder of the Salt Lake City Police and Fire Museum.

Dencker, whose personal searching has spanned numerous historical and genealogical records, was hoping a descendant out there somewhere may have a picture of Luddington.

He served as chief for nearly four months in 1851, from January 11 to April 4.

“Back then, he was probably called, ‘Marshal Luddington,’” Dencker acknowledged.

Dencker said despite the department not possessing a photograph, they know quite a bit about the pioneer.

“I can tell you everything about his mission (for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) to the Far East, where he and his missionary partner were stoned twice and about everything else he did in his life, but there’s no picture of this guy,” Dencker shrugged. “I’m not positive but I believe that he had four wives and somewhere there has got to be a picture!”

Luddington passed away in 1893.

In addition to Luddington’s photo, the department is also lacking pictures of two officers killed in the line of duty—William Cooke (1858) and Charles C. Riley (1909).

Those who believe they may have historic photos of Luddington—or Cooke or Riley—are asked to contact Salt Lake City Police Department.

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Salt Lake City Police Seek Historic Photo of Second Chief