The 17th Precinct began life as the West Park Village Hall. Constructed in 1914 it housed the village offices and police department. The West Park Fire Department was adjacent to the building.
With the annexation of the Village into the City of Cleveland in 1923, Cleveland Safety Director Thomas Martinec was quoted in the Plain Dealer as saying “The West Park Police have been working a ten-hour day. They will now work eight.” According to the Plain Dealer, “The West Park patrol car was given its first run as a Cleveland institution yesterday and stalled with a knock. It went to investigate a deserted automobile.”
Several of the West Park Patrolmen were hired as Cleveland Police Officers. Two of those Officers were:
Milton Minut, Badge 534; Appointed 01/02/1923 from West Park PD; Resigned 03/23/1923.
William Corrigan, Badge Number 591; Appointed 01/02/1923 from West Park PD; End of Watch 05/26/1938.
With the reorganization of police services by Safety Director Eliot Ness in 1938, the 17th Precinct became the headquarters of the newly organized First District. The District encompassed all territory west of West 48th Street and north of Clark Avenue. The building was also used to store police records when there was a lack of space at Central Headquarters. In the early 1970s here was a bad storm and a portion of the roof collapsed allowing a torrent of water to flood the storage area which was on the top floor. All of the records, including the personnel files of many Police Officers, were destroyed.
West Park City Hall remained the First District Headquarters until 1975 when a new building was constructed at 3895 West 130th Street. Shortly after the new police station opened, the officers complained about the complex procedure they had to go through to take a shower after completing a tour of duty. A city official had ordered that all shower heads be locked up. Officers were forced to sign for the shower heads as needed and return them after use.
Special thanks to the West Park Historical Society for providing research material.