12 ways the Dayton Police Department has shaped law enforcement in 150 years

7:00 p.m Tuesday, May 2, 2017 Local

The Dayton Police Department has served the community for 150 years.

On April 16, 1867 the “Commissioners of Police” were appointed by the state to form the Dayton Metropolitan Police Force, the third police department in Ohio, according to the Dayton Police History Foundation.

This is the first known photograph of an assembly of Dayton police officers taken in 1876. It is believed to be taken in front of the Central Police Station on East Sixth Street in Dayton. The command staff consisted of the police superintendent and two sergeants. DAYTON POLICE HISTORY FOUNDATION

Previously Dayton had been under the jurisdiction of a constable or marshal, who could form a posse when needed.

The rich history of the Dayton Police Department is filled with historic firsts, memorable anecdotes and pioneering advances in technology.

Here is a look at some of the law enforcement milestones compiled by the Dayton Police History Foundation:

Early institutions. Cells were added in 1856 to a portion of an engine firehouse on Main Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets to become Dayton’s first city jail. In October 1861 the first police station house was established in an engine firehouse at the southeast corner of Sixth and Tecumseh Streets.

Staff Writer
Dayton Police Chief John C. Whitaker was photographed in a buggy in front of the patrol house at 15 S. St. Clair St. The photo is believed to have been taken in 1902. DAYTON POLICE HISTORY FOUNDATION

Pedalling prisoners. The first “prisoner patrol tricycle” was built by Dayton’s Davis Sewing Machine Company in 1898. Two officers could pedal the vehicle while a prisoner sat between them manacled at the wrists and ankles. There is no evidence the Dayton Police Department used the contraption.

A sobering movement. Dayton police kept a watchful eye on Temperance Crusaders in 1874 when the Women’s Christian Temperance Union picked Dayton to be the first major city to visit and pray for men’s souls. Later, in 1904, Carrie Nation, a radical member of the movement known for attacking saloons with a hatchet, came to Dayton.

The first black police officer. William Jenkins was the first black man to be appointed as a Dayton police officer in 1898. He was also the first black officer to have a pension at the end of his career. Jenkins retired in 1917 after being severely injured arresting four of six members of the notorious local “Alabama gang” in 1916.

Staff Writer
Dayton police officer John Reiter is photographed with a police motorcycle called a “Flying Merkel” made by the Miami Motorcycle Co. of Middletown. The police department began using motorcycles in the early 1910s making it one of the earliest departments in the nation to establish motorcycle patrol. Officer Reiter is believed to be the first Dayton police motorcycle officer. DAYTON POLICE HISTORY FOUNDATION

Slow down. The world’s first speeding ticket was written by the Dayton Police Department in 1904, according to the Dayton Police History Foundation. The ticket was issued to Harry Myers on West Third Street for traveling 12 mph.

Two-wheeler. The nation’s first police motorcycle patrol was established in Dayton in 1911. Four motorcycles were purchased and assigned to the the Second and Third Precincts. By the 1920s the squad had expanded to become the largest motorized patrol unit until automobiles took over.

Staff Writer
Dayton Police officers make a visit to a local school in 1954. DAYTON POLICE HISTORY FOUNDATION

No respect. A Model T Ford became the department’s first automobile on Aug. 26, 1915. It was stolen while parked in front of city hall with no record of recovery ever found.

Quite a ride. In 1930 the Dayton Police Department obtained a Cadillac dubbed the “Bank Flyer.” The vehicle had bullet proof glass, impenetrable tires, customized racks to hold automatic weapons and a reinforced bumper and radiator shield. The car was specialized by the same Cincinnati company that tailor-made two cars for Al Capone and presidential limousines.

Get that gangster. After a nine-year stint in prison, infamous gangster John Dillinger was arrested by Dayton police in 1933. The hooligan, who had been visiting a local girlfriend at her boarding house, was caught on West First Street.

Staff Writer
Dayton is the nation’s first police department to equip its police fleet with two-way radios. The project was competed just before a campaign visit to the city by President Franklin Roosevelt. DAYTON POLICE HISTORY FOUNDATION

Radio communication. Dayton became the nation’s first police department to install two-way radios in its fleet of patrol cars. The radios were installed just in time for a visit to the city from President Franklin Roosevelt.

Female street patrol. In 1973, six female officers graduated from a Dayton police academy class. Dayton was one of the few cities in the nation to have women on street duty.

Innovative policing. Bicycles became an innovative way to keep citizens safe. In 1990 the Dayton Police Bicycle Patrol became the first present-day bicycle unit in a major city east of the Mississippi and in 1991 the International Police Mountain Bike Association was co-founded by Dayton police sergeant Allan Howard.


An exhibit of Dayton Metropolitan Police history will be on display through the end of May in the lobby of the Centerville Police Dept., 155 W. Spring Valley Rd. 

The exhibit, which is free of charge and open to the public, will feature historic images, a uniform and call box as well as other artifacts.

Dayton Police Chief Rudy Wurstner poses in 1930 with the "Bank Flyer," a customized Cadillac with impenetrable tires, bullet-proof glass, a reinforced bumper and radiator shield and special racks to hold automatic weapons. DAYTON POLICE HISTORY FOUNDATION