Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The Lost History Of The Chicago Police Department
Click on picture to enlarge.
Chicago, IL—There is little information provided to Chicago police officers about the department and its rich history. For example many officers don’t know the names of or the philosophy of the past police superintendents and before that, police chiefs.
I’m sure in the Graphic Arts unit there are many old photographs. There are decades of old Star Magazine issues that should be digitized and made available.
If I had about a month and the full cooperation of the department I put up a historical website with the highlights of the department’s good and bad times.
I’d love nothing more than to put up the stories and pictures behind each year’s winner of the coveted Police Medal. The story of these heroes and their moments of bravery are inspiring.
Going through old Police Board files and publishing some of the more notable discipline cases would show how human failings distracted officers from their missions.
The influence of corrupt politicians has left its mark on the department. If we don’t know about the problems how do we avoid repeating the same mistakes?
The department’s crime lab has been able to solve many high profile cases. They have pictures of amazing evidence going back many decades.
The old O’Brien Street academy must have had its share of recruit's ghosts running through the boiler room at night. I bet you could also hear the ghostly screams of recruits as the bones in their wrists snapped during defensive tactics training.
I had to laugh when I got this old picture of the academy. In the picture I can see my old blue 1971 Chevy Vega. That was Motor Trend Magazine's, Car of the Yrar. I had my “get out of parking tickets” stickers from the IPA and COP on both sides of the windshield. (See lower left corner of the picture)
There must be a real history buff that will handle this important mission.