Police Buildings: Twelfth Precinct, 8312 Detroit, built in 1895

When West Cleveland was annexed by the City of Cleveland in 1894, a condition of the annexation was that Cleveland would build a new station house within the former West Cleveland boundaries and that it be staffed by at least six officers.  Immediately after annexation, police services were provided by the Officers assigned to the Eighth Precinct until a new Precinct Station was built in the area.  Two building permits were issued in December of 1895 for brick and stone installation on a building located on Detroit Street near Seward (now West 83rd). 

Director of Police E.A. Abbott visited the site in June and deemed that it was ready for occupancy.  However, the precinct would require eight Patrolmen, two Sergeants and two Lieutenants and there were not sufficient funds to hire any additional Officers.  Officers were borrowed from other precincts and on August 27, 1895 the public was welcomed into the new building.  In Charge were Sergeants Jacob C. Denzer and John H. McCready with Patrolmen Michael Fergus #20, Terrance Gallagher #109, Edward Cantwell #169, Joseph Ralph #98, Joseph Kilbane #229, and George Immel #124 who shared patrol duties.

Map of Cuyahoga County, 1898
Twelfth Precinct, 1898
Map of Cuyahoga County, 1927-1937

Captain Edward Hutchinson welcomed visitors into the new building that was described in the Cleveland Plain Dealer as “…quite a little gem.  In the prison there are eight cages of modern construction.  The front of the building is quite imposing in appearance.  The exterior work is of a medium color brick trimmed in unfinished marble.   Near the entrance is the Captain’s office.  On the opposite side is the Lieutenant’s room which is also the general business office.  On the second floor are the Patrolmen’s assembly and locker rooms and kitchen.”  Cramer and Fugman were the architects and construction cost $12,000.

Twelfth Precinct, 1940
Twelfth Precinct stable/garage, 1940

The first detective cruiser equipped with a two-way radio was assigned to the west side of the city in September of 1937.  With the assignment of the cruiser a plan was developed to divide the personnel from the Tenth Precinct between the Eighth and Twelfth Precincts and the cruiser would cover the territory of all three.

In 1938 when Safety Director Eliot Ness established five police districts and reorganized patrol boundaries, the Twelfth Precinct building was turned over to the city Recreation Department and became the home of the Newton D. Baker Boystown Center.  In 1954 the building was used as a temporary home for the Cleveland Police Academy.  After a short time, the Academy moved to Fire House 32, located at 1431 West 112th Street.

Photograph of four unidentified Police Officers inspecting a Radio Patrol Car. Until 1938, the Cleveland Division of Police was limited to one-way radio communication with its police cars. This 1937 Chevrolet was one of the first cars equipped with a two-way radio.