SCHMITT, JACOB W. (29 Jan. 1829-16 Dec. 1893) pioneer in urban police work, was born in Mannheim, Baden, Germany, the son of Joseph Schmitt. He grew up in Germany and came to the United States after the 1848 revolution. Arriving in Cleveland during the early 1850s, Schmitt was appointed Constable in 1857, City Marshal in 1865, and Chief of Detectives the following year when a metropolitan police system was introduced. Schmitt's 1871 appointment as Superintendent of Police was followed by the organization of a new Board of Police Commissioners that established seven precincts, five on the east side and two on the west side to protect the city's 318 miles of streets with day and night patrols.
During his 22-year tenure, Schmitt was largely responsible for the successful operation of Cleveland's metropolitan police force. He improved police coverage of the growing city by expanding the number of patrol officers, installing call boxes to connect them with the stationhouse, and introducing patrol wagons to take lawbreakers to jail. In 1886 competitive civil service examinations for police applicants were implemented. Schmitt resigned 1 July 1893.
Schmitt married Antonetta Reutlinger in Germany, and they had five children, Conrad P., Theodore, Carl F., Mrs. Phillip Decumbe, and Mrs. William Boehmke. He died at his home in Cleveland and was buried at LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.