Police Museum marks 150 years of Cleveland Police History

Police Museum marks 150 years of Cleveland Police History

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Cleveland Police Department turned 150 years old on Sunday and at Police Headquarters there was a different kind of tribute.

One to the long life of service given by the department as a whole.

Curator and Officer Tom Armelli said, "That's 150 years of 24 hour a day 7 day a week, Christmas and holidays where you could pick up your phone or yell out your window and get help if you needed it."

At the time he wasn't called chief, but for 30 days after the department was founded Samuel Furnal was it's leader until a chief was named.

A walk through the Cleveland Police Museum is like turning back the pages of time.

Current Chief Calvin Williams agrees.

"It is the history of Cleveland not just the Division of Police," said Chief Williams.

Williams made the first cut in a cake made especially for the event.

One watched over by death masks hanging on walls of some of the victims of the so-called torso murderer of the 1930's. Cases even revered crime fighter and Safety Director Elliot Ness couldn't solve. The cases remain unsolved today.

On display are some of the earliest dispatch microphones from a day when an officer's gun, badge, cuffs and nightstick were his only weapons. The
very first police badge was chained to the officer, for a reason according to Armelli.

"You see in a lot of the older pictures the guys had a badge and then had a chain that goes through the button hole. I'm assuming that's if they got into a fight or something and a guy ripped the badge off it wouldn't go anywhere," said Armelli.

From horse patrols, to early police cars on through the 40s, 50s, and today the department's improvements are documented.

One of the first dedicated accident investigation units and much more.

In a world where that is sometimes lost, it is a place to reflect.

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