Police Buildings: 16th Precinct, 3600 East 131st Street, built 1920

The 16th Precinct, located at 3600 East 131st Street, was established in 1920.  The Plain Dealer described the area as the fast-growing southeastern district that extended from Woodland Hills Park east to Warrensville and south to South Newburg.  Constructing a headquarters building on East 131st Street was expected to cost about $40,000.  Building double garages for the 5th, 13th and 16th Precinct Stations “…will make it possible to establish flying squadrons and emergency automobiles at each.  There will then be an emergency automobile in every precinct and five flying squadrons.”

Cuyahoga County Atlas, 1927-1937
January 5, 1924 Plain Dealer

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 (who received the call from Headquarters), to 8-minutes or less by a Flying Squad unit, radio-dispatched directly by Headquarters.

Sergeant Peter J. Mock (appointed 1901, Retired 1932, End of Watch 1956) with
two unidentified Officers at the Front Desk of the 16th Precinct

As early as 1924, Councilman William J. Kennedy described conditions of the 16th Precinct in the Cleveland Plain Dealer as “The station house is no more than a place for the men to change their cloths.  It has no emergency car, no flying squadrons, not a thing else.”  He further said, “I have been given to understand – I do not know personally of this – that the basement of the sixteenth precinct station is usually full of water, and the building is an unfit place for men to work.”  The Councilman said he attached no blame to the Kohler administration as he understood the Davis-Fitzgerald administration had built “the leaky sixteenth precinct station.”

16th Precinct, 3600 E. 131st Street, 1940
16th Precinct/4th District, 1970s

With the reorganization of the entire police system by Safety Director Eliot Ness in 1938, the 16th Precinct station became the headquarters of the newly established Fourth District.  The territory was south of Woodland Avenue and east of East 55th Street to the city limits.  This “leaky” building continued to serve as headquarters until 1975 when a new Headquarters was built at 9333 Kinsman Avenue.

4th District, 9333 Kinsman