Museum Tells The History Of The Phoenix Police Department

The Phoenix Police Museum tells the history of the Phoenix police department which started in 1881. The museum contains photographs and equipment used by the police force over the last 130 years.

The museum is located at 2nd and Jefferson in downtown Phoenix. It is at the southwest corner of the Historic Phoenix City Hall on the first floor. The entrance doesn’t look like much, but the inside makes up for it. When I entered I was greeted by a very pleasant person who pointed out many of the places to visit in the museum.

The Early Years

When you enter the museum the display you will see is a replica of the first marshall office. Just outside the marshall’s office, you will find the Phoenix prison rock. This is one of the three original rocks used before they built a prison. This is interesting because in my last blog I wrote about the Wickenburg prison tree where prisoners were chained to a tree before the jail was built.

Model-T

There is a 1919 Model-T police cruiser on display. The Phoenix police department used similar vehicles. Of course, most patrols at that time were done by foot, bicycles, and horses, but this marks the future in police equipment for Phoenix.

Helicopter

They have a helicopter display in the back of the museum to showcase the aviation side of the police force. In 1974 the Air Patrol Unit was established with just one helicopter. You can’t sit in the helicopter but you can get close to it and get to see what it might be like to fly around Phoenix.

Other Vehicles

They also have displays for a three-wheeled motorcycle, and a two-wheeled motorcycle to look at. They also have a full-sized patrol car which you can get up close to. I believe before COVID you could get into the patrol car, but now they have it blocked off. The lights have a motion sensor so when you get close the patrol car lights will turn on which are cool.

The Miranda Rights

You have heard in many movies the police saying “You have the right to remain silent.” In the late evening in 1963, a young Phoenix woman was attacked while walking from a bus stop. Ernesto Miranda was arrested by the Phoenix Police for the assault. The museum has a display that goes into details about what happened to this case and how it went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court which would make a decision that impacts the interviews law enforcement and the suspect.

 

Patches

They also have walls of patches from police departments all over the U.S. It is a big collection.

Other Stuff

There is a ton of stuff I haven’t mentioned that you can explore. More than I could possibly put into this blog post.

Gift Shop

There isn’t a fee to visit the museum, but they do have a gift shop full of items you can purchase to support the museum. They have t-shirts, hats, and other items that might interest someone in your family.

 

Conclusion

If you or your kids are interested in law enforcement, this museum should be on your list of places to visit. It is also a short walk from Chase Field. The entrance might be hard to spot initially but just follow the signs on the street. This is a great museum for the people in your family who enjoy police history. The people who work at the museum are extremely knowledgeable and happy to share their knowledge.

They don’t have a fee to enter, but they will accept donations to keep the museum-going.

Phoenix Police Museum
17 South 2nd Avenue
Historic City Hall 1st Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85003-2202
Southwest corner of the building