Toledo Police Museum to open June 9Written by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo will honor a piece of its history with the opening of its new Police Museum on June 9.
“I keep watching my countdown and think ‘Oh my goodness are we going to make it?’” said Officer Beth Cooley, who as the museum’s president continues the building’s remodel process. “We are going to make it and when it opens it’s not going to be what it is going to be in five years because it will be continuously evolving.”
The museum features many relics from the history of the Toledo police force, including books, mug shots from the 1800s, a 1948 Ford F1 panel van, a jail cell, a breathalyzer set from the 1950s. An interactive mug shot camera, a wall dedicated to Toledo’s fallen officers and numerous other artifacts are also on display.
Most of the items on display were found by the late Officer Ken Deck, who amassed them during his lifetime to help preserve them. He attempted to begin a Police Museum in 1988 in the Safety Building but it lasted only a few years before it was repurposed and the artifacts were put into storage.
“It was his personal collection and his desire to preserve history,” Cooley said. “He just had a desire to learn more about the history and preserve it and had he not done that this would not have been possible.”
Cooley was tasked last May with the planning of a new Police Museum for Toledo. Planners decided to remodel a vacant building which had formerly been a Nature Center for about 25 years, on Kenwood Street across from the Toledo Hospital. They signed a 10-year lease for the building with Mayor Mike Bell for $1 a year.
“The chief was 100 percent behind it, the mayor got behind it and when we asked him for this building he allowed us to lease for 10 years,” Cooley said. “Between the mayor and chief being behind it and the energy of the volunteers it has just snowballed.”
“This museum belongs to the city and it’s an homage to the officers past, present and future that made the city and the department what it is today,” volunteer Diane Miscannon said.
Miscannon lost her father, Officer William Miscannon, 40 years ago when he was shot while on duty in his patrol car. As a memorial to her father, the museum gave the restored 1948 paddy wagon the number 12, in honor of his unit number.
“I was so touched that they did that,” Miscannon said. “Even though my dad was killed 40 years ago, it’s exciting that they’ve remembered him.”
To celebrate the grand opening of the Toledo Police Museum, former boxer Dr. Wilbert “Skeeter” McClure will be on hand with his former trainer Ramon “Buddy” Carr on June 9. McClure, a Toledo native, won a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics in Rome in the Light-Middleweight Division. McClure was in the Police Athletic League program and has donated some of his memorabilia to the museum.