This month as part of the profiles of the police Charities supported by The Cleveland Police foundation, we focus on the Cleveland Police Museum.
Inspired by a visit to Scotland Yard’s Black Museum in London, England, Cleveland Police Detective Robert Bolton convinced then Chief William Hanton that Cleveland should have its own police museum. Subsequently, Detective Bolton, Chief Hanton, Deputy Chief Lloyd Patterson, and Deputy Chief Richard Kazmir incorporated The Cleveland Police Historical Society in May 1983 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
The Cleveland Police Museum, opened in June 1983 with Florence E. Schwein as its director. It originally consisted of 1200 sq. ft. of space on the first floor of Police Headquarters in the Justice Center. The museum featured exhibits that documented the history of the Cleveland Police from its inception in 1866. In the first seven months, 3,000 visitors toured the museum. By the end of 1984, the museum’s guest book recorded not only local visitors but many from across the U.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii), and 14 other countries as well.
Cleveland’s police museum continues to be one of the few law enforcement museums open to the public in the United States, and has influenced police departments in other communities to create collections that relate to their own histories. The CPHS is unusual among similar organizations in that it works in cooperation with, but does not come under the control of the Cleveland Division of Police. Financial support comes from membership dues, donations, and grants from various government agencies and private organizations. The CPHS receives no tax funds from the City of Cleveland, State of Ohio, or the Federal Government.