Saturday, February 4, 2017

Danville buys its first police car (1952)

source: Danville Gazette (Danville, Indiana) - issue of Thursday, January 3, 1952 - page 1, columns 5-6:

According to a newspaper article, in January 1952 the Danville Town Council authorized the purchase of its first police car, so that its "watchman service" could take its first steps into becoming an actual police department. Their 2 current watchmen - Dean Stevens and Oral Swain - would then share the use of the car. The car was to be fitted with a siren. According to a February 21, 1952 article, the car they purchased was a black Studebaker. Its roof had to be fitted with steel bows to help bear the weight of the siren.

As to how the public could contact the police when they were needed, one idea being considered by both the county commissioners and the Danville town council was to invest in a radio tower. A radio antenna would be installed on top of the police car, with remote points at the county sheriff's office in the courthouse and at the county jail.

Another idea that was under consideration involved the public calling the operator. The operator would then switch on a special light on top of the telephone building, and would also call the Hoosier Hotel and notify them to turn on the special light on top of their building. This would be a signal to the police to get to the nearest phone and get in touch with the operator for the message about where they were needed. This method was to be a replacement for the current method, in which the county sheriff fielded all phone calls from the public.

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