Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We Serve, Protect and Eat Donuts

  With all the criticism today against big government, it's easy to overlook the fact that we rely on the public sector for some pretty important things like food safety, firefighting and of course law enforcement. Since the birth of our Republic, state and local governments have hired courageous citizens to provide for public safety. Today's posting will pay a tribute to these dedicated public servants and look at how the tools of the trade have changed over the years.

Lawmen often enlisted the public to help them catch criminals like the notorious James gang.

Gunslingers wouldn't want to tangle with the Dodge City Peace Commissioners of 1890.

Beat policemen awaiting arrival of President McKinley.

China Town in San Francisco was a rough and tumble place in 1905 but this police squad looks prepared for any problem.

In the early 1900s, standard equipment for the beat policeman was the distinctive hat, a pair of handcuffs and the classic wood baton.

At the Vault Door of the Treasury of the City and County of San Francisco, after the fire of April 1806

FBI agent Melvin Purvis led the manhunts that tracked such outlaws as Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and most famously John Dillinger. Later on, as the host of a popular radio show, Purvis enlisted the boys of America to become "Junior G-Men" and join the neverending fight against crime.

A perp gets booked in 1950.

A magazine illustration of a patrol car on the chase.

Handcuffs, a .38 revolver, keys and a notebook keep policewomen ready for all emergencies.

Thanks, officer. Is there anything I can do to repay you.....?

A real-life Barney Fife. Is there a bullet in his gun?

The Miami Police Department's motor squad looks ready to rumble.

Before stoplights were common, traffic control was a manual job.

Police departments sometimes served as EMTs and often had special vehicles liked this ultramodern ambulance.

The leather uniform of this motorcycle policeman looks a little too Gestapo-like to me. Can I see your papers, please?

FBI wanted poster for Leonard Peltier, an American Indian activist who was later arrested for murdering two policemen in a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Although his conviction has been upheld in later decisions, there are still many today who believe that he was wrongfully imprisoned for the crime.

Los Angeles Police Department's crack motor patrol

Expert markswomen of the Los Angeles Police Department

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