The Cleveland Police Department installed a new communication system at Central Station in 1929. The radio was designed by Ralph C. Folkman and using the call letters WRBH, the station connected patrolmen with the station quickly and efficiently. With the advent of radio, response times were reduced from 30 minutes under the telegraph/telephone system to 8 minutes or less.
How it worked:
Police telephone operators received an emergency call at Central Station
The dispatcher broadcasted the call to radio-equipped police cruisers.
Officers in the police cruiser, “The Flying Squad,” heard the call on their one-way radio.
Officers used the nearest call box to notify Central Station they were on their way to help.
The 1920 Buick Touring Car was one of the Cleveland Police Department’s first radio equipped vehicles. A sergeant and four patrolmen were assigned to each “Flying Squad” radio car. Response time was reduced from 20-30 minutes for officers dispatched from the precinct house, to 8-minutes or less by a Flying Squad unit, radio-dispatched by Headquarters.
By 1937, the Cleveland Police Department installed two way radios in the patrol cars and motorcycles, which allowed the police officer to call Central Station via the radio. Cleveland was the second major city in the United States to provide their motorcycle officers with radio communications.