1940 International Emergency Mobile Patrol

When Eliot Ness was appointed the Director of Public Safety for the City of Cleveland in 1935, Cleveland had the highest traffic fatality rate in the nation.  Ness created a multi-faceted approach to reduce the overall accident rate in the City.  One part of his plan included the creation of a Police Ambulance Unit.  Officers were selected for special First Aid training that was provided by City Hospital (now MetroHealth Hospital).  He convinced the City Administration to purchase a fleet of ambulances that would also be used as “paddy wagons” if the need arose.

Advertisement in a 1939 issue of Life Magazine.

Small format, B&W photograph of three CPD officers and a man dressed in a white suit, posed in front of a CPD Ambulance Service Vehicle. Frank J. Milota, Jr. #944 is 3rd from the left.
B&W photograph of a group of uniformed future Cleveland Police Ambulancemen watching a First Aid demonstration at the old Riverside Police Academy. Two officers are placing an injured man on a stretcher. None of the officers in the photograph are identified

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, on November 27, 1938 the International Harvester Company delivered “…twelve lightweight, speedy units with panel bodies to be used as combination ambulances and patrol emergency cars.”  These vehicles were equipped with radios, collapsible stretchers, inhalators, first aid kits, splints and many other accessories to deal with emergencies.  Painted red and blue with a white stripe, they met the Director’s plan of making the entire police vehicle fleet more visible.  They were also capable of carrying up to eight officers to deal with emergency situations.


The rear view of a Cleveland Police International Ambulance, fully equipped, ca. 1930s

The 1940 International Harvester Panel D1 Series included a 213 ci HD flathead six-cylinder engine rated at 78 HP and a 3 Speed Manual Gearbox. The truck was part of the International Harvester Company D Series Line.   The D-Line debuted in March of 1937 and was every bit as trendy as anything built by the competition with its Art Deco design, flowing fenders, and a rounded split-window cab, and just as technically advanced.  The cabs were all steel and roomy enough for three men. These were the first trucks to be worked over at a new test facility for the International Harvester Company in Fort Wayne, Indiana.


Patrolman William F. Frawley # 167 and his partner posed in front of an International Emergency Vehicle.
Emergency Patrol Vehicles on parade down Euclid Avenue.


The Cleveland Police Historical Society Vintage Fleet committee recently acquired this 1940 International Harvester Panel D1 Series truck and faithfully restored it to a Cleveland Police Emergency Mobile Patrol truck. The Vintage Fleet can be seen throughout Greater Cleveland at festivals, car shows and other public events. Contact the museum for more information: office@clevelandpolicemuseum.org

1940 International Harvester Panel D1 Series


Rear compartment.
The right rear bench folded up to make room for a gurney if it was being used as ambulance.
Fold-able stretcher

Period correct emergency medical supply kit and a metal gun/baton rack
The original right front seat folded upward to gain access to the rear of wagon by sliding open lockable cage door.
Early two way Motorola radio head and speaker from that era

Equipped with a period correct emergency lights and siren mounted behind the front bumper

The Cleveland Police Museum would like to thank everyone who helped complete this project

C.B.Graphics (Printing & Signs) – Parma, Ohio
Cleveland Communications – Parma, Ohio
Cleveland Lumber – Cleveland, Ohio
The Cleveland Western Reserve Fire Museum
Dave Cohen, DCaptain Vintage Lights & Sirens & Radios
Dan Olsen, Master Wood Craftsman – Medina, Ohio
E&K Welding Products – Cleveland, Ohio
Gary Cahill, Rescue Market Vintage Lights & Sirens
R&R Auto Body – Cleveland, Ohio

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