The 2008 Dayton Police History Exhibit
In November 2007, two Dayton police sergeants - one active and one retired - met with two directors of ‘Dayton History’ to explore the possibilities of bringing the little-told story of the Dayton police force to the Miami Valley community. The project would be a historical account brought to life in an exhibit of photographs and artifacts. What conceptually began as a small, one month presentation swelled in both excitement and magnitude as the inventory of display items and volunteer support grew.
On May 3 2008, a six-month long Dayton Police History Exhibit was opened to the public in cooperation with 'Dayton History' and Carillon Historical Park. It was financially sponsored by many in the business community and was actively endorsed by the Dayton Fraternal Order of Police and the Dayton Police Department.
The theme of the exhibit was “Patrolling the Streets of Dayton”. It was a wonderful success. This was the largest exhibit ever presented at Carillon Park in the one of its newer buildings and best settings for a display of this nature, the Dicke Family Transportation Center. Although general public attendance records were not specifically maintained, over 20,000 school children are known to have toured this law enforcement history exhibit. A tour of the exhibit may be seen at the following website:
The DPH Exhibit was closed November 15, 2008. Portions of the exhibit were placed on display at the 50th anniversary of the Dayton Policeman’s Ball at the Presidential Banquet Center in Kettering. The eight primary display cases from the DPH Exhibit (about a third of the exhibit) were temporarily moved to the first floor of the Dayton Police Safety Building for the benefit of the visiting public. It is open to anyone in the community. Although May 2010 closes this temporary display, efforts continue to someday establish a permanent Dayton police museum.
What follows is the text from 16 “Patrolling the Streets of Dayton” exhibits. The underpinning of every display or display case was a narrative history, with the exceptions of the Gallery of Police Chiefs (a photographic history) and the Tribute to 24 Fallen Dayton Officers (donated by the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force) as well as the motorcycle and police academy displays. The accounts are basic information designed to coincide with the images on display.
The historical text was written by retired Sgt. Stephen Grismer and edited by Mary Oliver, ‘Dayton History’ Director of Collections. The text reads as it appeared at the DPH Exhibit.
The doors to the Transportation Center opened with a Welcome by the Dayton Chief of Police:
There is no better relationship that can be forged than one between a community and its police officers. What is magnificently displayed inside the Dicke Family Transportation Center here at Carillon Historical Park is a collaborative enterprise by the Dayton-area business community, supportive citizens, Dayton History, Dayton police retirees and their fellow active-duty law enforcement officers.
This Dayton Police History Exhibit is truly a partnership of the best kind. It is a brilliant example of community policing ideals placed into practice. This Exhibit not only chronicles the Dayton Police Force but also represents the history of an innovative and forward-thinking community. As has been demonstrated in the past, the future will show that practically anything is possible as long as the Dayton community and their police continue to work together for a common good.
Thank you. Please enjoy this experience that is Dayton History.
Richard S. Biehl
Director and Chief of Police
Dayton Police Department
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