In 1846 Peter G. Camden became the eleventh Mayor of St. Louis.
In 1846 Peter Camden was elected Mayor as a member of the old American Party. During Camden's administration the City issued bonds for $25,000 to purchase stones and raise the eastern bank of the Mississippi River which had threatended to cut a new channel. There was a possibility the river might cut a new path through the American Bottoms and miss St. Louis altogether. The harbor on the St. Louis side of the river was also improved. Like Mayor Pratte, Camden favored the use of gas for street lights, and during his term the system was extended.
The police system of the City was made a regular department of the municipal government in 1846. Before this time there had been night watchmen and some daytime patrol duty, but no regular Police Department. The Ordinance approved on August 17, 1846, included the duties of the City Marshal, City Guard, Day Police and the Keeper of the Calaboose. These four divisions of the department reported directly to the Mayor. The duties of the Marshal and Police were made separate. The Marshal enforced Ordinances and served Processes of the Court as well as the Orders of the Health Department. The Police were Peace Officers and were to arrest violators of State Laws and City Ordinances. The City Guards (night police) consisted of one Captian, six Lieutenants and 42 Privates. The Day police was a smaller body and consisted of seven Privates under one Lieutenant. It was in 1846 also that the Independent Police were organized for doing extra work of a detective nature. This Independent Detective Force was under the control of James McDonough. He later became Chief of Police under the system of state control which went into effect by order of the Missouri State Legislature in 1861.