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Cleveland Police Department

Investigating a homicide in 1939, as described in PFIB, presented certain challenges although Cleveland pioneered many modern techniques in use today. For some background on the CPD and events leading up to 1939, Marshalls were employed to control crime and patrol large areas the same year Cleveland was incorporated in 1836. Thirty years later, the Cleveland Police Department was created in response to an ever-growing population. Pictured below is the first permanent police headquarters, constructed between 1860-1862. It was torn down for construction of the Terminal Tower Project in 1927 and relocated to Payne Avenue between E. 19th and E. 21st.

Over the next 40 years, Cleveland would employ crime techniques envied throughout the land that included using mug shots, “Murphy Box” (permit officers to call into the station on patrol), first used in 1887 . . .

. . .  and the creation of the BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigation—cataloged photos and stats for each arrest), fingerprinting, SIU (Science Investigation Unit), and the ballistics division. These innovative techniques were soon copied in other police stations around the country. By 1907, a closed police wagon (earlier models were completely open) had a dual purpose: escorting emergency patients to the hospital or criminals to jail.


If you were caught during the commission of a crime, this would be your home in 1927 at the newly constructed Cleveland Police Headquarters—after your name was entered into the Arrest Book (latter from 1904.)

​Enjoy the following animated slide show depicting police officers during the course of their duties fom 1910 to 1936.

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Another upgrade to the Cleveland Police Department, introduced by Eliot Ness, were the radio-patrol cars (featured in PFIB.)

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