A Cleveland patrolman in the 1920s walked his beat for eight hours a day, carrying most of the equipment he needed to keep the neighborhood safe and to catch criminals.
Patrolmen were expected to “promptly and thoroughly investigate all crimes and complaints on the beats, and make a full report of their actions in all such matters to the officer in charge of the station.”
* While women worked for the Cleveland Police as matrons and later in the Women’s Bureau, they did not walk a beat
Patrolmen in the 1920s had a variety of options for restraining prisoners. Each patrolman purchased their own restraints, so several types were used in Cleveland. A mechanical nipper restrained a single wrist. Once on the wrist, the patrolman would hold the handle to lead the prisoner. Chain nippers or “come alongs”, which were lighter weight and easier to carry than mechanical nippers, also worked on a single wrist.
The Tower “single lock” and “double lock” style handcuffs and leg shackles were used for many decades, starting in the 1860s. Cleveland patrolman used the Tower handcuffs into the 1940s. Another style of handcuff was the button release style. By the 1920s, many patrolman chose to use the Peerless handcuff, which was easier to use, lighter weight and smaller in size.
Each patrolman carried a whistle and key to the call box. They blew the whistle to alert nearby officers and used the Call Box to report to the Central Station. A patrolman’s call box key was stamped with the his badge number and could be used to open any call box in the city.
Patrolmen also controlled traffic, helping to enforce the parking and driving laws of Cleveland. Every patrolman carried the Traffic Code of the City of Cleveland and a stack of parking tickets.
These items are on display at the Cleveland Police Museum. Exhibit compiled by Executive Director Mazie Adams.