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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

O'BRIEN, Robert

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Robert O'Brien. Photo Courtesy: Chris Nugent

O'BRIEN, Robert. (Dubuque, IA--Dubuque, IA, December 29, 2004 ). O'Brien, successor to Percy LUCAS, was named chief of police in July 1970. He joined the police force on December 2, 1947. (1)

A patrolman from December 2, 1947 until September, 1956, O'Brien studied police administration for one year at Northwestern University and was then promoted to sergeant in 1957. Promoted to captain in 1959, O'Brien became Dubuque's first assistant chief on November 21, 1967. He was succeeded as chief of police by John J.Mauss. (2)

It was under O'Brien's administration that the transition was made from two-man squad cars to one-man squad cars began. He was also credited with introducing the first burglary and narcotics units to the department and in 1974 hiring the first female officer. His administration also saw every officer equipped with a portable radio. (3)



1. Bulkley, John. "O'Brien Named Police Chief," Telegraph Herald July 8, 1970, p. 1

2. Ibid.

2. Block, Emily. "Former Police Chief O'Brien Dies at 80," Telegraph Herald, December 30, 2004, p. 1