200@200 : October — To Govern and Serve
Date:
1940s
Title:
Fort Wayne Police Department: Policewoman's Uniform
Description:
The Old City Building housed the Fort Wayne Police Department from 1893 until 1971, before the Allen County—Fort Wayne Historical Society refurbished the building into the History Center in 1980, but the story of law enforcement in Fort Wayne starts much earlier. During the mid—1800s, citizen militias protected the city, which brought a measure of law and order. City Council, realizing that this was not adequate protection, established a professional police force in 1863. The force consisted of three men—a lieutenant and two patrolmen—who patrolled from dusk to dawn.

During the 1870s, Fort Wayne endured a wave of crime, particularly pickpockets, gamblers, and thieves, which earned the city the title of "Most Lawless City in Indiana" in the Chicago Tribune. This denotation fueled city leaders to strengthen the police force. Consequently, by 1900 city police were well disciplined and skillful. The first police station was established in a small brick building that stood opposite the courthouse on Court Street. This building was used until completion of the new City Building in 1893.

The first female associated with the Fort Wayne Police Department was Fannie Winch, who was appointed Fort Wayne's first Police Matron in 1913. This policewoman's uniform dates to the 1940s and belonged to Officer Velma Moser. Her gun purse has slots for a gun and handcuffs.
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Officer Moser's FWPD uniform, badge, and gunpurse, c. 1940sOfficer Moser's FWPD uniform, badge, and gunpurse, c. 1940s
Officer Moser's FWPD badge, c. 1940sOfficer Moser's FWPD badge, c. 1940s
Officer Moser's FWPD badge detail, c. 1940sOfficer Moser's FWPD badge detail, c. 1940s
Officer Moser's FWPD gunpurse, c. 1940sOfficer Moser's FWPD gunpurse, c. 1940s
Officer Moser's FWPD gunpurse inside detail, c. 1940sOfficer Moser's FWPD gunpurse inside detail, c. 1940s
Officer Moser's FWPD gunpurse inside detail, c. 1940sOfficer Moser's FWPD gunpurse inside detail, c. 1940s
Officer Moser's FWPD gunpurse inside detail, c. 1940sOfficer Moser's FWPD gunpurse inside detail, c. 1940s
Officer Velma Moser in uniform, c.1940Officer Velma Moser in uniform, c.1940
Fort Wayne Police Recruits, 1940sFort Wayne Police Recruits, 1940s