New Phoenix Police Museum offers window to the past

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The rich history of the Phoenix Police Department comes to life in a new museum.

Housed in the historic City Hall building, the memorabilia walks you through the 1800s and brings you to the present.  Here you can check out a replica of a jail cell from 1831, a Model-T used to transport criminals or the first Phoenix police helicopter to take flight in 1973.

"It represents a lot of Phoenix police officers of past and present and I wanted to get it right," museum curator Mike Nikolin, himself a former Phoenix police officer, said.

From the police cruisers of the '60s to the vehicles of the '80s, you get a better understanding of what the officers had to use to keep the city safe.

The museum caps the tour with a room dedicated to the 35 Phoenix police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Each officer's picture hangs in a dimly lit room, the centerpiece of which is a huge bronze statue.  

Former Phoenix Police Chief Dennis Garrett wouldn't have had it any other way.

"It's only fitting because they gave the ultimate for the city of Phoenix," he said.

Located in the original police headquarters at Historic City Hall at 17 S. Second Avenue, the museum open to the public Wednesday. It will be open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

While admission is free, the museum is accepting memberships, which are $24 per year. Members will receive the semi-annual "Historian" newsletter, two free collector pins and gift shop discounts.

For more information about the Phoenix Police Museum, call 534-7278 or 534-PAST.